In a previous blog, I stated that the date of Senegal’s presidential runoff would be Sunday, March 18. This is only partially incorrect; civilians will vote on March 25.
But President Wade allowed Senegal’s military to vote in national elections for the first time since independence in 2007, so they voted on Sunday, a week in advance of the civilians.
Extending the right to vote to the military was certainly a democratic initiative. But Wade has favored the military, offering a concessionary housing scheme, for example. Many Senegalese see them as favorable to the incumbent president. So, by doing right to the military, Wade might have been doing himself good in the presidential runoff.
However, it is unclear whether the military vote will be significant. The press estimated that up to 23,000 military might have voted over March 17 and 18. If the runoff were very close, a strong military vote could give Wade an advantage over his presidential rival, Macky Sall. But, again according to the press, the military voter turn out was very low. At present it is hard to see how the military vote could swing the election to Wade.
I continue to think Macky Sall’s chances are good, though the runoff date will be March 25 rather than March 18 as I had earlier said.