Senegal votes in local elections seen as presidential test

Dakar (AFP) - Senegal voted in municipal and provincial elections on Sunday, seen as a key test for President Macky Sall as he tries to shore up support for his party two years after his own disputed victory.

More than 5.3 million people are eligible to vote for new councillors across 602 districts who will in turn elect mayors and heads of provinces.

Voting began at 0800 GMT and is due to end at 1800 GMT.

A bitterly disputed presidential election in March 2012 was marred by violence that left up to 15 people dead and at least 150 injured.

Sall won that election with more than 65 percent of the vote against Abdoulaye Wade who had been in power for 12 years.

The local elections are a key test for Sall and his party which control only a few local communities.

The presidential party, the Alliance for the Republic (APR), which was created in 2008, does not yet have a strong foundation in the country and is undermined by internal differences.

The APR hopes the elections will allow it to strenghten its base despite poor economic results.