Macky Sall's political career appeared to have peaked under Abdoulaye Wade, where after serving as Prime Minister he fell from favour. On Sunday however, he replaced his former mentor as President.

Results were barely out on Sunday when a few hours after polls closed, Mr. Wade phoned his former protege to congratulate him on his win, as exit polls showed his overwhelming lead.

Whereas Mr. Wade had spent 25 years as an opposition leader before finally winning the presidency, Mr. Sall won the top political prize at his first attempt.

There was a time when Mr. Sall (50) was widely tipped to get there under Mr. Wade's patronage: many observers thought he was being groomed to succeed him.

But after a spectacular rise during which he occupied several portfolios before becoming Prime Minister, he fell from grace, quit the party and struck out on his own.

In the February 26 first round, a crowded field of opposition candidates led to fears in some quarters that Mr. Wade would be able to win outright victory because of the divided competition.

Mr. Sall did enough to ensure both that Mr. Wade would not win outright — as the President had predicted he would — and that it would be he who faced him in the second-round run-off.

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