February 26, 2019 / 6:56 PM / 6 months ago

Senegal president on course for strong election win: media, sources

Senegal's President and a candidate for the presidential elections Macky Sall, speaks after casting his vote at a polling station in Fatick, Senegal February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegalese President Macky Sall is on course for a strong election victory, according to preliminary results from Sunday’s vote provided by local media and a source inside the electoral commission on Tuesday, though opposition candidates have rejected the numbers.

Media website Dakaractu.com said that Sall had won over 58 percent of the vote based on preliminary data from polling stations, while the commission source said he won 59.5 percent.

Official results are expected later this week.

His closest rival, former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, won 20 percent, according to Dakaractu, with former tax inspector Ousmane Sonko receiving 16 percent.

A spokesperson for Idrissa Seck told Reuters that the provisional results were “entirely false”, without giving his camp’s numbers. A spokesperson for Sonko declined to comment.

The early figures will likely spark controversy. Sall’s team declared him victor on Sunday, but the opposition said their results showed he had not won the required 50 percent of votes to avoid a run-off next month against a second-placed candidate.

Sall has won popularity for driving economic growth during his first term, building highways and an airport and widening the electricity grid. Yet the opposition and rights groups say he used his influence to bar major candidates from running in the election because of corruption convictions.

Additional reporting by Juliette Jabkhiro; Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Frances Kerry

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