A former president of Benin has strongly criticised a new law which requires anyone wanting to stand in presidential elections to pay the equivalent of around $450,000.
The figure constitutes a massive 1500 percent increase from the $26, 000 in the 2016 election. Critics of president Patrice Talon denounced the move as favouring only the rich and privileged.
Candidates interested in the legislative elections, will now have to pay more than $440,000 up from the 2016 fee of 14,000.
By brutally and clumsily excluding anyone who is young, poor or disadvantaged, the government and its allies in parliament have this time gone too far.
Nicephore Soglo, who served as president in the 1990s, disapproves the recently-approved law.
“By brutally and clumsily excluding anyone who is young, poor or disadvantaged, the government and its allies in parliament have this time gone too far,” Soglo said.
As honorary president of the opposition party Renaissance Benin, Soglo has never minced words about current president, Patrice Talon’s leadership style, denouncing it as a move towards authoritarian rule.
Since his election in March 2016, Patrice Talon has adopted a series of increasingly controversial reforms, triggering strikes and protests in this tiny West African country.
Earlier this month, protesters hit the streets after parliament adopted a law limiting the right to go on strike to a maximum of 10 days per year, for both public and private sector workers.
If Benin’s Constitutional Court approves the law, political parties will have to pay a similar fee to take part in parliamentary elections.
Elections in Benin are scheduled for 2020.