Benin’s ruling coalition won election, constitutional court says

© Yanick Folly / AFP

Benin’s pro-government parties won a majority of seats in parliament, the country’s constitutional court said Thursday, in a vote marking the return of the opposition after four years of absence.

Sunday’s vote, which went ahead peacefully, was a test for the West African state where President Patrice Talon has promoted development but critics say democracy has steadily eroded under his watch.

It was the first time the opposition was participating in elections since cotton-magnate Talon came to power in 2016.

Parties supporting Talon, the Republican Bloc and the Progressive Union for Renewal parties together won 81 out of 109 seats in parliament, said Razaki Amouda Issifou, president of the constitutional court.

The opposition Democrats party gained 28 seats, he said, adding that voter turnout was 37.79 percent.

Seven political parties—including three allied to the opposition—were allowed to participate in the election.

Only parties that win more than 10 percent of the vote are eligible to get parliamentary seats, according to a proportional system.

Earlier on Thursday, Democrats party leader Eric Houndete had 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.


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