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US News Presidential in Benin: Patrice Heel in an armchair, without opposition

12:45  08 april  2021
12:45  08 april  2021 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Des protestataires bloquent une route à Toui, un bastion de l'opposition dans le nord du Bénin, le 7 avril 2021 © Yanick Folly protesters block a road to Toui, a bastion of the opposition in northern Benin, April 7, 2021

Beninese are called to the polls Sunday to elect their president while the center and the north of the country are paralyzed by protesters who denounce the confiscation of the election by the outgoing President Patrice Talon.

The re-election of this old oil magnat arrived in power in 2016 and who hired this West African country in an authoritarian turning point does little doubts: its adversaries are two candidates almost unknown to the public, the former MPs Alassane Soumanou and Kohoué Corentin .

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La campagne électorale bat son plein à Cotonou, le 6 avril 2021 © PIUS Utomi Ekpei The election campaign is in full swing in Cotonou, on April 6, 2021

both are taxed by "puppet applications" by most Beninese opponents, which have not been allowed to introduce themselves.

"Since the return of multiparty politics in 1990, this is the first time that the country organizes a presidential election like this: pluralistic in appearance, but without choice in reality," explains to AFP shipping Oilly, Beninese political scientist.

Le président béninois Patrice Talon à Ankara le 6 septembre 2018, lors d'une visite officielle en Turquie © Adem Altan The Beninese President Patrice Talon in Ankara on September 6, 2018, during an official visit to Turkey

The great figures of the opposition are in exile or sentenced to ineligibility sentences. The others saw their application recalled by the electoral commission because not having a sufficient number of sponsorships (154 of the 159 Benin elected officials belong to the presidential movement).

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- Country cut in two -

Since Monday night, part of the Benin of the Center and the northern of the country, fief of the opposition, have risen to denounce "a nonclusive election". They erected dams on the main road that connects the North to the Cotonou Economic Capital in the South.

"On April 11 person is sure of what he will happen. At this pace, we do not know if the northern part of the country can really vote," says Olougou.

In the south of the country, the campaign normally unfolds, almost smoothly. Certain Beninese even deplore a fervor-free campaign.

Cotonou is covered with azure blue posters of President Talon and its colorestry at Vice President Mariam Tlata. The posters to the demoded graphics of the two other candidates are present in limited numbers.

Manifestation de protestation contre l'élection présidentielle à Toui, dans le nord du Bénin, le 7 avril 2021 © YANICK FOLLY protest protest against the presidential election in Toui, in northern Benin, April 7, 2021

- "The development it is" -

Benin: controversy on the end date of the presidential mandate of Patrice Talon

 Benin: controversy on the end date of the presidential mandate of Patrice Talon © Yanick Folly / AFP The organization of the April 2021 presidential election is questioned by civil society organizations and the opposition to the President outgoing for a new mandate (Illustration of President Patrice Talon in August 2020) in Benin, the amendment of the Constitution initiated by Patrice Talon in November 2019 has changed the traditional dates of the electoral calendar concerning the presidential election and the Entry according to the elected president.

The President "places a lot to the educated youth and at the The country's elite, "says AFP Mathias Hounkpe of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (Osiwa).

After five years at the head of the country, Patrice Talon can boast of a very good economic assessment: it has sanitized public finances, considerably improved the business climate and digitized many public services.

During his five-year, cotton production, one of the main resources of the country, has increased sharply, the small corruption has almost eradicated, and many roads have been built.

Despite the coronavirus, the country has succeeded in maintaining a positive growth in 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic it had refused to confine its people claiming that his country did not have the means of rich countries.

"Even if his balance sheet is very positive, an election is never won ahead," Temperates the director of Mr. Talon's communication, Wilfried Houngbedji. "We hope that the people will go massively vote".

This is the real issue of this ballot for the president, "not so much to be re-elected in the first round, but to be with a high rate of participation", according to Mr. Hounkpe.

Or the President "is not very popular in popular and rural classes," he adds.

In Benin, another 38% of the population lives below the poverty line, and these have not seen their condition of life change drastically.

Then for the next five years, the president who had initially claimed wanting to make a unique mandate before becoming evolving, the promises: "The development, it is there", according to his campaign slogan.

"I have to work for the whole country. The work started will go to an end. There will be no more region where we lack electricity, water and internet connection," he promised them Last Monday at a meeting in the south of the country.

CMA / JHD

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