Auhoritinaism in Benin?
Opponents and members of civil society in Benin have denounced the six-month away presidential election which they claim could be held without any credible opposition candidate under questionable and dubious political circumstances orchestrated by the ruling government in light of an amendment to the electoral code and several court convictions against prominent politicians.
The article voted on at the end of 2019 requires candidates to be sponsored by 16 deputies or mayors in order to compete in the ballot.
However, during the legislative elections of April 2019, none of the opposition parties had been allowed to present lists, and after the municipal elections of April 2020, boycotted by some of the opponents, only six dissident mayors were elected.
"Mathematically, it is therefore impossible to have an opposition candidate," said Ralmeg Gandaho, coordinator of "Let me choose." This collective of civil society organisations is campaigning for the abolition of sponsorship.
Political Foul Play?
According to the opposition, upon coming into power in 2016, President Patrice Talon has engaged the West African country in an authoritarian turn — sanctioned this week by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) which has now removed Benin from the list of "safe countries" to the dismay of the Beninese people.
All in all, there is indeed a concern in the country about a harmful political climate a few months before the presidential election. The head of state himself is yet to announce whether he intends to run for a second term — although, many local observers are convinced he will run.