Bassirou Diomaye Faye  will turn 44 the day after the first-round of voting. / Photo: Reuters / Photo: AFP

Senegalese presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye is the face of the country's opposition in the lead up to Sunday's election.

The 43-year-old former tax inspector is backed by opposition figure Ousmane Sonko and is considered a big challenger to the ruling party's candidate Amadou Ba.

Both Sonko and Faye had been jailed for separate over separate offences. They were only freed last week. They have assured that there will be “no revenge” if they win election and eventually assume power but that there will be justice.

Sunday’s election is set to be Senegal’s fourth democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from France in 1960.

About 18 candidates are running for the top job and analysts predict a runoff, which according to the law, must be held with top two contenders running if none of the candidates secures more than 50% of total votes cast in the first round.

Sonko has been barred from contesting the election due to a previous defamation conviction. So he decided to back Faye in the presidential poll.

Both men were released from prison last week to jubilant crowds, and their camp hopes for a victory in the first round as supporters of the ruling party aim for same feat too.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye (left) and Ousmane Sonko at a press conference at in the capital Dakar. Photo / AA

While less popular than Sonko, Faye is considered among the favourites to win the election.

He is running under the slogan "Diomaye mooy Ousmane", meaning "Diomaye is Ousmane" in Wolof, and are hoping to harness Sonko's charisma and popular appeal amongst Senegal's youth.

Analysts say unemployment is the chief concern for a majority of young Senegalese.

About a third of Senegalese live in poverty, World Bank data shows. Thousands have fled towards the West in search of economic opportunity, undertaking risky and often deadly journeys.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye draws majority of his support from the youth. Photo / Reuters

Pitching himself as the candidate for "system change" and "left-wing pan-Africanism", Faye promises to reclaim Senegal's sovereignty, a rhetoric some analysts say could be an allusion to intentions to distance the country from Western powers especially former colonial ruler France.

He has promised to renegotiate oil and gas contracts, as well as defence agreements, if elected.

But his party has since backed off a promise to introduce a new national currency if Faye wins. It instead vowed to seek to implement a reform of the West Africa region's CFA franc currency at a regional level first.

Faye's manifesto also includes tackling corruption.

"Diomaye has broad enough shoulders to steer the project," said spokesman El Malick Ndiaye, in response to repeated criticism over his lack of leadership experience.

Click here to follow our WhatsApp channel for more stories.

TRT Afrika and agencies