Senegal President Macky Sall comfortably won another term in office in last Sunday's election, provisional figures showed on Thursday, giving him five more years to finish a raft of modernising projects.

Senegal's President Macky Sall speaks after casting his vote at a polling station as his wife Marem Faye Sall stands behind in Fatick, Senegal, February 24, 2019.
Senegal's President Macky Sall speaks after casting his vote at a polling station as his wife Marem Faye Sall stands behind in Fatick, Senegal, February 24, 2019. (Reuters)

Senegalese President Macky Sall easily won a second term without the need for a runoff, election officials announced on Thursday in the West African country.

The four opposition candidates said they would not pursue a legal challenge, ending days of uncertainty in this democracy long known for its peaceful transfers of power. 

Earlier in the week, the opposition had denied unofficial reports that Sall won an outright majority, and they told their supporters to prepare for a second round.

The joint statement released on Thursday afternoon by the opposition said that while they firmly rejected the outcome, "we will not be taking any recourse at the constitutional council."

There were scattered reports of university students protesting but no large demonstrations after the result was announced on live TV and radio, a rarity in a region of the world where post-election violence is common in many countries.

The incumbent leader received 58.3 percent of the vote, according to Judge Demba Kandji, president of the commission tasked with releasing the election results. 

Provisional results show that top opposition candidate Idrissa Seck took 20.5 percent of the vote while Ousmane Sonko had 15.7 percent.

The 57-year-old Sall had sought re-election on his record of building roads and creating jobs, calling himself "the builder of modern Senegal."

No trickle-down effect

Opposition supporters maintained those economic advances had not reached many in this country where young men often risk their lives to migrate to Europe.

"Macky Sall is obsessed with infrastructure and he's not concerned with employment, with employing my generation," said Abdou Camara, 24, a Seck supporter who is now applying to graduate school in Canada after trying to find a job for six months.

"I don't hate Macky Sall, but I can't love him."

Senegal has long been a democratic example in West Africa where coups and clinging to the power used to be all too common. 

Election observers reported no major irregularities on Sunday.

However, this year's vote was marked by allegations that the presidency had effectively blocked two prominent opposition politicians from taking part: Dakar's former mayor and the son of the president that Sall ousted from office in 2012.

That year he had campaigned on a message of change to beat longtime President Abdoulaye Wade. 

A constitutional referendum since then has shortened the presidential term from seven years to five. Sall weathered some criticism after he finished out his seven-year mandate following that law change.

Source: AP