President Talon of Benin Wins Controversial Re-election with Wide Margin  

135 Viewed Obiajulu Joel Nwolu 0 respond
President Talon of Benin Wins Controversial Re-election with Wide Margin  
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

President Patrice Talon of Benin easily rode to victory for a second tenure in office, interim results obtained on Tuesday suggested, following the election that took place during the weekend.

Talon, criticized for clamping down on his opponents, was first elected as the country’s president in 2016. He contested the Sunday election against less popular opponents as the majority of his main rivals were either in exile or disqualified from contesting the poll.

He emerged victorious with 86.3 percent of the vote cast, the electoral commission said while announcing preliminary results, his opponents, Alassane Soumanou and Corentin Kohoue garnered 11.29 and 2.25 percent respectively, AFP reports.

The final result must be verified by Benin’s constitutional court. Critics say the West African nation has swerved onto an authoritarian route under Talon with a constant clampdown on political opponents after been initially acclaimed as a vibrant multi-party democracy.

Three international observer missions had already noted low turnout in the election, though they said the voting general went ahead peacefully despite tensions and protests in the lead-up.

With the 62-year-old incumbent almost guaranteed victory, analysts had said voter turnout would be a key measure of his election success.

Turnout was 50.17 percent, the commission said.

“This election was just folklore,” said restaurant owner George Kpatchavi. “We are not waiting for the results because they were already known in advance. After the elections, everything will return to order.”

An association of civil society groups, which deployed more than 1,400 election observers, said in its preliminary statement Sunday that “attempts to pressurise, intimidate, threaten, corrupt or harass voters were observed across the entire country”.

Protests had blocked some routes in opposition strongholds in the centre and north of the country in the run-up to the election, leading to delays in the dispatch of electoral materials.

Benin has seen some economic successes under Talon, who promised a “KO” first-round win in Sunday’s election. Supporters have praised his projects to expand electricity and basic services.

The alleged result manipulation in favour of Talon has been debunked by government officials, noting that exiled opposition leaders were trying to have the vote cancelled with a smear campaign.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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