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Surprise election win for Senegal’s opposition candidate

After a delayed and turbulent election, Senegal has voted Bassirou Diomaye Faye as its next president. He is the youngest president-elect in the country's history, and an unlikely leader who stood for power only after his party’s boss, the firebrand opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, was charged with rebellion and barred from running. In his first speech as president-elect, Faye promised to combat corruption, improve the economy, and promote national healing. The 44-year-old will also have to address critical issues around migration, with an increasing number of Senegalese taking dangerous irregular journeys to try to reach Europe. According to the EU’s border protection agency, Frontex, crossings on the deadly sea route from West Africa to the Spanish Canary Islands increased by 161% in 2023 compared to the year before, driven primarily by people departing Senegal. According to a Spanish NGO, more than 6,000 people likely died attempting the crossing. However, the UN’s migration agency, IOM, puts the confirmed number of deaths at nearly 1,000. In recent weeks, there have been more instances of sinking vessels and drownings along the route, and as we reported in 2021, the cost of these shipwrecks on communities is always severe. Find out more in this report from the remote Senegalese village of Pakour.

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