Benin elected new lawmakers on Sunday, with opposition candidates being allowed to run for office for the first time in four years under President Patrice Talon.
The referendum on Sunday will be a crucial test for the country of West Africa. Talon’s admirers claim that he has ushered in political and economic prosperity, while detractors claim that his mandate has undermined democracy.
Reporters noted that Cotonou’s streets were quiet and that all marketplaces and stores were closed. According to the Autonomous National Electoral Commission, polls were open at 7am and will end at 4pm.
The most recent parliamentary elections in 2019 were distinguished by deadly violence, record-high voter turnout, and a complete internet blackout, which was previously hailed as a regional defence of democracy.
Due to stricter voting regulations, the opposition was barred from the 2019 elections. Due to the fact that only two movements supportive of the president were permitted to run, Talon’s allies gained every seat in the legislature.
Seven political parties, including three that identified themselves as the opposition, were permitted to participate this time.
Defense Minister Fortunet Alain Nouatin urged on the populace to turn out “massively” to vote after voting in the morning in the nation’s capital, Abomey.
The 109 seats in the parliament will be distributed according to the proportional system among the parties receiving more than 10% of the vote. Within the upcoming week, the outcomes are anticipated.
“We are confident because we are from the presidential movement. Everything is fine,” said Hamdan Moussa, 22, local representative of the Republican Bloc (BR), a pro-government party.
“People no longer have too much hope, they are afraid of some trickery,” said Bawa Alimiyao, 40, in front of a primary school in Cotonou, where he voted for an opposition party.
“This government disappointed me, we had hope. We are waiting for change and we need deputies representative of the people.”
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