The people of Senegal have been preparing for their first multi-party elections since the West African state became independent in 1960. 71-year-old President Leopold Senghor legalised two opposition parties in Senegal two years ago, and in these elections, he will be facing an opposition presidential candidate for the first time.
EXTERIOR GV PAN: crowds in stadium chanting, applauding in Dakar.
GV: natives dancing through stadium.
GV: President Senghor addressing crowd from podium.
MV: crowd listening.
MV: President speaking.
MV PAN AND GV PAN crowd listening (2 shots)
GV PAN: crowd seated at Wade election meeting.
CU PAN: banner
MVs: natives dancing, playing drums, crowd watching. (5 shots)
MV: Wade, bald head, sitting amongst supporters.
GV PAN: crowd
MV: Wade standing on dias, PAN TO crowd cheering.
GV: crowd cheering
MV: Wade speaking
MV: crowd with Wade posters.
GV: crowd applause
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The people of Senegal have been preparing for their first multi-party elections since the West African state became independent in 1960. 71-year-old President Leopold Senghor legalised two opposition parties in Senegal two years ago, and in these elections, he will be facing an opposition presidential candidate for the first time.
SYNOPSIS: The election campaigns being waged by the ruling Socialist Party and the two opposing parties, the centre-left Senegalese Democratic Party and the Communist Independent African Party, have been centred in the Capital of Dakar. President Senghor himself has attracted the biggest crowds.
Reuter reports that while President Senghor is certain to be returned to office, the two opposition parties are expected to win at least twenty seats in the one-hundred seat Assembly.
The President's opponent for the country's top position is Abdoula Wade, leader of the Democratic Party, the P.D.S. Aged fifty-one, Mr. Wade has based his election campaign on the need for greater control over foreign capital in Senegal, where French influence is still very strong. He and his party have been attracting strong support in election rallies, but the Communist candidates have not fared as well.
Mr. Wade and his fellow opposition candidates have been accepted gracefully by President Senghor, who told his people recently that he wanted them to get used to a strong feeling of democracy. He said he could foresee the day when power would be switched to the opposition, and when that day came, he wanted the transfer of power to be orderly and peaceful. Senegal's voters went to the polls on Sunday, 26 February.