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44-year-old Faye sworn in as Senegal’s youngest President

Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in as Senegal’s youngest president on Tuesday after sweeping to a first-round victory on a pledge of radical reform 10 days after he was released from prison.

The 44-year-old has never before held an elected office, but several African leaders attended the ceremony in the new town of Diamniadio, near the capital Dakar.

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfil the office of President of the Republic of Senegal.

“I’ll scrupulously observe the provisions of the Constitution and the laws, defend the integrity of the territory and national independence, and spare no effort to achieve African unity,” Faye said before the gathered officials.

The formal handover of power to outgoing President Macky Sall will take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

Faye was among a group of political opponents freed from prison 10 days before the March 24 presidential ballot under an amnesty announced by Sall, who had tried to delay the vote.

Faye’s campaign was launched while he was still in detention.

The former tax inspector becomes the West African state’s fifth president since independence from France in 1960 and the first to openly admit to a polygamous marriage.

Working with his populist mentor, Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from the election, Faye declared their priorities in his victory speech: national reconciliation, easing a cost-of-living crisis, and fighting corruption.

The anti-establishment leader has vowed to restore national sovereignty over key assets such as the oil, gas, and fishing sectors.

Faye wants to leave the regional CFA franc, which he sees as a French colonial legacy, and invest more in agriculture with the aim of reaching food self-sufficiency.

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