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Benin’s president, Patrice Talon, arrives at the “Compact With Africa” conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2018 (Photo by Annegret Hilse for dpa via AP Images).

As Benin Gears Up for Legislative Elections, the Opposition Is Left Out

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Thousands of supporters of Benin’s political opposition flooded the streets of the country’s largest city, Cotonou, on Monday, bearing flags, vuvuzelas and banners with slogans denouncing the government. But while the country is set to hold legislative elections next month, the rally was not a standard show of support to get out the vote. Rather, its organizers were demanding something more fundamental: that opposition political parties be allowed to participate at all.

Because of changes to Benin’s electoral rules, only two parties have met the requirements to field candidates for the polls scheduled for April 28, and both of them back President Patrice Talon. Among the excluded parties is the Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin, which is allied with former President Thomas Boni Yayi and claimed the most seats—33 of 83 total—in the last legislative elections in 2015. ...

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