Senegal’s election is underway, with incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade’s contentious bid for a third term having sparked deadly protests in one of Africa’s most stable countries.

Voting began at 8am local time and was expected to run until 6pm. Around 5.3 million people were registered to vote in Sunday’s election.

Hundreds of voters booed Wade as he cast his ballot. The incumbent, accompanied by his daughter Sindiely and son Karim, arrived just after midday at the polling station in the suburb of Point E where long lines of voters had been waiting quietly for hours in the sun.

Several dozen supporters applauded at his arrival, but their appreciation was drowned out by a cacophony of boos and jeers.

Visibly angry, a tense Wade pushed one of bodyguards out of the way as he left. He beat a swift retreat after casting his ballot and did not speak to reporters.

Voting started on time in most areas in Dakar, the capital, though at some stations it was  delayed by 30-40 minutes. People were turning out in numbers at the polling stations, standing in orderly queues and casting their ballots.

Senegal, a former French colony, is one of the continent’s pioneer democracies, boasting an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960.  Read more…