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Senegalese music star N'dour to run for president

Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - 02:06

Jan. 4 - Senegalese music star Youssou N'Dour, a critic of incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade, has cancelled concerts to focus on becoming a candidate in upcoming presidential elections. Edward Baran reports.

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For decades, Senegal's Youssou N'Dour has taken his music to audiences around the world. Now, he's swapping performance for politics by running for president. A decision he says was prompted by demands straight from the streets of the West African nation. SOUNDBITE: Youssou N'Dour, singer, saying (English): "For over 15 years I have heard this buzz going about for me. An overwhelming majority of the Senegalese people have asked Youssou N'Dour to run as president." "They want something new and I am the model, that's why the call to register my candidacy was extremely important. And as I think that everything I represent comes from the people of Senegal, I answered 'yes' and accepted to run in the 2012 presidential elections." Confirmation that N'Dour will run in February's election came after months of speculation The fifty-two year old has long been a vocal critic of Senegal's veteran leader Abdoulaye Wade. And on the streets of Dakar there was broad support for the star. SOUNDBITE: Cheickou Diedhdou, student, saying (French): "N'Dour is someone who loves his country, Youssou N'dour created employment here in Senegal, gave many Senegalese work, and I think he has a big ambition for the Senegalese people" SOUNDBITE: Abodulaye Diop, newspaper vendor, saying (Wolof): "If he can get in and tries his luck, maybe he can form an alliance with someone else, but I see him more in the position of senator or mayor." SOUNDBITE: Bakary Niassy, student, saying (French): "I give him my support for his candidacy today because Youssou N'Dour is a serious man, he loves Senegal and he works hard" Whether the man behind the world-wide hit single '7 Seconds' has time to turn his domestic popularity into votes next month is far from certain.... He joins a crowded pack of more than a dozen presidential rivals. And he lacks much formal education in a country which treasures intellectuals. But if he manages to wins this prize it will be one more glittering than any chart position. Edward Baran Reuters

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Senegalese music star N'dour to run for president

Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - 02:06