Senegal's President Names Opposition Figurehead Sonko as PM

Bassirou Diomaye Faye speaks after being sworn in as Senegal’s President
Bassirou Diomaye Faye speaks after being sworn in as Senegal’s PresidentPhoto by John WESSELS

On Tuesday, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a left-wing pan-Africanist, assumed office as Senegal's youngest president, promising to reform the system after years of turmoil and introducing his mentor, opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, as the prime minister.

At 44, Faye, with no previous elected background, won in the first round of elections, pledging major reforms right after his release from prison.

Taking the presidential oath at an exhibition center near Dakar, Faye was surrounded by numerous officials and African leaders, affirming his commitment to the nation.

Upon his return to the capital, Faye was greeted by cheering crowds as he made his way to the presidential palace where the former President, Macky Sall handed him the keys to the palace in a symbolic gesture.

"I swear to faithfully fulfill the office of President of the Republic of Senegal before God and the Senegalese nation," Faye declared.

Shortly afterward, Oumar Samba Ba, the general secretary of the presidency, announced on national television that the firebrand opposition leader Sonko would serve as prime minister. Sonko was barred from running in the recent election but endorsed Faye as his successor.

As Senegal's fifth president since independence, Faye openly acknowledged his polygamous marriage and pledged a transformative agenda, emphasizing peace, an independent judiciary and strengthened democracy.

Faye and Sonko, both released from prison just days before the election, acknowledged the sacrifices made during years of political unrest that claimed lives and led to numerous arrests.

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