Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has more votes than all his opponents put together so far, and a second round may not be needed, his supporters predict. Prime Minister Macky Sall – who is Mr Wade’s campaign manager – said partial results gave the president 57% of the votes counted so far.
No official results have been announced so far, and opposition candidates say any outright win would be fraudulent.
Voter turnout was high and long queues left some polling stations open late.
The first official provisional results are expected later on Monday. A second-round run-off is scheduled for mid-March, if no candidate secures a majority. Mr Sall said partial figures compiled from their polling stations representatives showed that Mr Wade “is well clear of the 50% needed to be elected in the first round”.
But, opposition supporters dismissed these claims as “fantasy”. The election commission warned against predicting results, saying it was unhelpful.
Mr Wade, who is seeking a second term, has come under pressure in recent months over high rural unemployment.
President Wade, who came from behind to win in the last election, will be well aware of the danger of a second round, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Dakar.
Since that election, which saw a rare transfer of power in Africa by the ballot from one leader to a rival, President Wade has fallen out with several of his allies, some of whom were among the 14 opponents challenging him on the ballot papers.
Two of them were Moustapha Niasse and the youthful Idrissa Seck, who have both served as prime minister in Mr Wade’s administration.
Ousmane Tanor Dieng, who served under the previous president, Abdou Diouf, was also seen as a strong contender.
Senegal, a predominately Muslim nation, is seen as a rare model of stable democracy in Africa. It is the only West African nation not to have experienced a coup since independence, and polls in 2000 passed off peacefully.
Some five million people were eligible to vote, which is almost double the figure in the last election.
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