Eight Beninese opponents, whose candidacy files for the April presidential election in Benin had been rejected by the Autonomous National Electoral Commission, were definitively excluded from the ballot by the Constitutional Court, we learned on Monday February 22 from this judicial institution.
This small West African country, long seen as a model of democracy but which has recently taken an authoritarian turn, is preparing to experience an unprecedented election on April 11, in which the major figures of the opposition will not participate.
Some are in exile or sentenced to ineligibility. Others saw their candidacy rejected by the electoral commission, because they did not have a sufficient number of sponsorships.
The new electoral law requires the presidential candidate to be sponsored by at least 16 deputies or mayors. However, only 6 of these 159 elected members belong to an opposition party.
A “fraud at the top of the state”
Eight opponents rejected by the Electoral Commission had lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court, but the latter rejected them all, according to the decisions published on the Court’s website. Among them, Rekiath Madougou, candidate of the Democrats party, whose honorary president is former president Thomas Boni Yayi, denounces a “Fraud at the top of the state”.
According to her, her candidacy had 21 sponsorships, but she accuses the parties of these elected officials, in charge of submitting the sponsorships to the Commission, of not having transmitted them.
Deputy Ahmed Affo Tidjani, from the Progressive Union party (presidential majority) told the press that he wanted to give his sponsorship to Mr.me Madougou, but to have been prevented from doing so by his party.
The tension around the ballot seems to have increased even more: three leaders of the party Democrats were summoned Friday and Monday by the Court for the repression of economic offenses and terrorism. They are accused of having collected money for “Recruit young people in order to sabotage the electoral process”, according to their party which denounces “A plot”.
On April 11, the 5.5 million Beninese voters will have the choice between three candidacies: that of outgoing president Patrice Talon, who has collected 118 sponsorships out of 159 possible, and that of two opponents almost unknown to the general public. They are the former Minister Alassane Soumanou of the opposition party Force cauris pour un Bénin Emergent (FCBE) and a dissident figure among the opponents, Corentin Kohoué.
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