Benin counts ballots after ‘calm’ parliamentary vote

Benin Republic’s electoral officials were tallying ballots Tuesday from a parliamentary vote seen as a key test of democracy in the West African state.

Final results from Sunday’s vote, which observers from the regional bloc ECOWAS hailed as peaceful and calm, are expected by the end of the week.

Opposition parties took part for the first time since President Patrice Talon came to power.

Talon, a cotton magnate first elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2021, has promoted political and economic development but, say critics, at the cost of stifling Benin’s once-vibrant political culture.

Four years ago opposition parties were effectively barred from participating in a legislative ballot due to a tightening of election rules, resulting in a parliament dominated by Talon supporters.

Most of Talon’s key opponents have also been jailed or forced into exile.

The 2019 vote was marred by deadly clashes in an opposition stronghold, historic low turnout and an internet blackout.


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