Senegal's new president won the runoff election in a landslide, garnering nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent of 12 years, according to provisional results released Tuesday.
Senegalese officials announced that Macky Sall had won 65.80 percent of ballots cast in Sunday's runoff ballot, benefiting from a united opposition in the second round of voting.
Incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade won 34.20 percent of the vote _ slightly less than his percentage in the first round last month. It marked a sharp drop-off from the last presidential race in 2007, when he easily won the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
"It's a landslide victory for President Macky Sall," said Mbaye Ndiaye, who represents the opposition coalition that supported Sall in the runoff.
Wade conceded defeat to his opponent within hours of polls closing, and world leaders and observers have applauded Senegal for holding a peaceful and transparent vote.
Wade's popularity has fallen amid rising costs of living and high unemployment in this country on Africa's western coast. Many voters spoke simply of change Sunday, rather than of Sall's specific credentials.
State media announced that Wade planned to hand over to Sall next Monday, and said the 85-year-old incumbent was next headed to Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage.
Wade had been considered among the rare African leaders committed to democracy in a neighborhood better known for rule by strongmen. However, his decision to seek a third term in office was fiercely criticized by many Senegalese, and violent protests during the election season left at least six people dead.
His image also suffered after he began giving an increasing share of power to his son Karim, who was derisively called "the Minister of the Sky and the Earth" after he was handed control of multiple ministries including infrastructure and energy.
Wade also tried to rush a law through parliament that would have reduced the percentage a candidate needed to win on the first round from 50 to around 25 percent. He was forced to scrap the proposal after riots immobilized the capital.
Associated Press writer Tomas Faye contributed to this report.
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