Vote counting began in Benin on Sunday after a presidential poll that was boycotted by some opposition parties over pre-election violence and their objection to President Patrice Talon’s quest for a second term. Provisional results of the first round of the election are expected by April 13. A cotton tycoon first elected in 2016, Talon faced off against two little-known rivals while some of the West African country’s key opposition leaders boycotted the election. Benin was once praised as a vibrant democracy in the region, but most opposition figures are now exiled, disqualified by electoral reforms or have been targeted for investigation by a special court. Protests in several cities this week turned violent. Some people were killed in gunfire on Thursday in the central town of Bante when security forces fired warning shots, its mayor told local radio, without saying how many died. After casting his vote at a primary school in the commercial capital, Cotonou, Talon said Benin was “writing another page in its history despite the intimidation”.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA