Senegal praised for peaceful transition

March 27, 2012 at 1:23 PM

LONDON, March 27 (UPI) -- The people of Senegal are recognized for the commitment to democracy through a relatively peaceful transition of power, the British foreign secretary said.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade conceded the election to former Prime Minister Macky Sall following a weekend runoff vote. Wade took 34.8 percent of the vote during the first round of voting in February, though opposition candidates lined up behind Sall to secure his victory.

Wade was able to seek a third term in office after a court ruled that laws imposing term limits didn't apply to sitting heads of state. The United Nations said it had evidence that at least four people, including a police officer, were killed in the wake of the announcement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, had expressed concern about the election process.

Ban, in a statement issued through his spokesman's office, applauded Wade for accepting defeat gracefully. British Foreign Secretary William Hague echoed the sentiments, noting London looked forward to working with Senagal's new president.

"The people of Senegal have shown once again that their country is a beacon for democracy and stability in Africa," he said in a statement.

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