Benin opposition rejects election results, claiming fraud

© Yanick Folly, AFP / File picture

Benin’s main opposition on Thursday rejected the results of this week’s parliamentary election, claiming vote buying and fraud allowed allies of President Patrice Talon to win a majority of legislature seats.

Sunday’s vote was a key test for Benin, where Talon has promoted a programme of economic and political development, but critics say his mandate has eroded a once thriving multi-party democracy.

Pro-Talon Republican Bloc and Progressive Union for Renewal parties together won 81 seats in the 109-member parliament with opposition Democrats gaining 28 seats, according to preliminary results on Wednesday.

In an early Thursday press conference, Democrats party leader Eric Houndete denounced “flagrant” ballot box stuffing, rigging and vote buying by the two pro-government parties, without providing immediate evidence.

“The Democrats party rejects this result, which does not reflect the will of the people to make our party the first political force in our country,” Houndete said.

“The count attributed to the Siamese parties (the two pro-Talon parties) could only be achieved thanks to the schemes put in place to distort the democratic game.”

The election marked the return of the opposition to parliament in the West African nation, following a four-year absence and for the first time since Talon came to power in 2016.

Final results are expected to be released on Friday by the National Electoral Commission (CENA).


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