As the Republic of Benin prepares to vote for a new president on Sunday, in a crowded race focused on boosting the flagging economy, logistical problems may keep hundreds of thousands of voters from casting their ballots.
The election originally scheduled for February 28 had to be postponed to March 6 following delays in the distribution of voter id cards, a move some say could cause tempers to flare on election day.
National Coordinator of the West-African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Benin, Julien Oussou, said the polls may be marred by disputes.
“When we go into the analysis of the areas which have been abandoned, we can find political loopholes in the choice of officials because it was not predicted and thus this is an indication that if nothing is done, we could possibly have disputes during the election”.
Incumbent President Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down after two terms at the helm of the small West African cotton-producing nation, leaving 33 candidates vying to replace him, Reuters reported.
Benin has not seen the levels of political tension that plagued recent elections in other parts of the continent, especially in Burundi and Rwanda where leaders have tested constitutional limits to stand for a third term and fifth term respectively.
Reuters reports that many of the old cards had problems that were not addressed.