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Senegalese president appoints opposition leader as prime minister

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Senegalese president appoints opposition leader as prime minister

Newly elected Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye has formally appointed opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko as the country’s new prime minister.

Faye, 44, made the announcement early on Wednesday, appointing his close ally who enjoys support among young Senegalese.

Faye had taken the oath of office just hours previously.

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Sonko, 49, has a reputation as an opponent of corruption, a critic of the country’s elites, a pan-Africanist and as a conservative Muslim.

He had been prevented from running for the presidency at the end of March after receiving a six-month suspended sentence for libeling a minister he had accused of corruption.

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In June he was handed a two-year prison sentence in relation to a charge of abuse of a 20-year-old woman.

Faye was held in custody himself for 11 months on account of a Facebook posting in which he expressed criticism of the country’s legal establishment.

Mass demonstrations and riots erupted in response as they had previously to Sonko’s arrest in 2021.

Sonko and Faye were both released from prison 10 days before the presidential elections.

Faye, one of Africa’s youngest presidents, was elected more than a week ago with 54.28 per cent of the vote in the country of some 18 million.

He succeeded Macky Sall, who had served as president from 2012.

The government candidate, Amadou Ba, secured 35.79 per cent.

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