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Presidential election in Benin: low turnout, irregularities and disinterest

The re-election of Patrice Talon to the presidential election of Benin is not in doubt. Despite the tensions that have rocked parts of the country this week, the Beninese president is on the highway to a second term, in an election without the main opponents.

Patrice Talon is sailing quietly towards a second term. And it is not his competitors in the presidential election this Sunday that will be able to block his route. Benin's Constitutional Court had taken care to exclude most of the opposition's candidacies. And the president of the country will therefore logically be re-elected in the coming hours.

But yesterday, already, part of the population cried cheating. Neighborhood leaders have indeed come to pick up people from their homes at the end of the day to have them vote, indicates Le Point, to whom an observer from Beninese civil society speaks of " some failures in Cotonou, but also in the north, due to the delay in the delivery of equipment ”. Protests also prevented voting in some offices.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence

These few irregularities will have little impact on the final result, the stake of which was ultimately the participation rate. And this one might just be weak. According to the France-Presse agency, participation did not exceed 30% in the Cotonou polling stations.

This suggests a low turnout in the 15 polling stations which, moreover, closed quite early because of the measures against the coronavirus. It must be said that for the population, the stake was not really there: opposed to two former deputies, Alassane Soumanou and Corentin Kohoué, Patrice Talon has no chance of being bothered, the two opponents being as unknown as they are harmless.

So the pressures and disturbances noticed in the offices of certain departments are almost anecdotal. Just like the ballot box stuffing denounced by the opposition. It remains to be seen what Patrice Talon will do when reelected. He has the choice: to continue his current policy or to open a national dialogue with the opposition which could not take part in the poll.

However, this is not the habit of President Talon, who became authoritarian as his mandate advanced. He had also promised that he would not run for a second term.

Another problem opposes Patrice Talon: the fate of the opponent Reckya Madougou and some activists of the Democrats party. After the presidential election, will Faure Gnassingbé's ex-advisor be able to get out of prison? Accused of financing terrorism, will the opponent have, if she leaves prison, the possibility of continuing to criticize the regime?

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