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Benin presidential polls kick off

Benin presidential polls kick off


Benin has began its first round of presidential elections as citizens choose among a record of 33 candidates to succeed outgoing leader Thomas Boni Yayi.

Initially slated for February 28th, the polls were postponed following delays in distribution of voter cards.

Nevertheless, on the eve of the elections the distribution of the voter cards had not started in two of the country’s departments.

Furthermore, the electoral commission was not able to complete the process in several other departments according to AFP.

With 4.7 million voters and more than 7000 polling stations, the first results are expected in the coming days after the ballot.

Among the favourites likely to succeed Yayi is the country’s prime minister Lionel Zinsou, Abdoulaye Bio Tchane a former head of the West African Development Bank and executive of the International Monetary Fund and two prominent businessmen Sebastien Ajavon and Patrice Talon.

Earlier in the week, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) urged the country to hold peaceful elections and said it will deploy observers to monitor the polls to ensure they are free and fair.

This is the sixth presidential election to be held in the West African country. A run-off will be held if none of the candidates wins a straight out majority.