No opposition party will be able to present candidates for the April 28 legislative elections in Benin

Benin president Patrice Talon

No opposition party will be able to present candidates for the April 28 legislative elections in Benin, and only two parties supporting President Patrice Talon will be able to do so, the National Autonomous Electoral Commission (Cena) said Tuesday.

“After deliberations, the Cena took the following decision: validation of the declaration of candidacy and issuance of definitive receipt for the parties Progressive Union and Bloc Republican”, the two main parties of the majority, told the press the president of the Cena, Emmanuel Tiando. Assured to have respected “the obligation of impartiality and neutrality”, the Cena rejected after examination the lists of three parties, including two of the presidential movement (the Democratic Renewal Party and Moele Benin) and one of the opposition, Force Cauris for the development of Benin. On the other hand, the commission “refrained from examining the admissibility” of the files of two other opposition parties, notably the Social Liberal Union (USL) of the businessman Sébastien Ajavon, for “incomplete file and defect certificate of conformity “, an administrative document issued by the Ministry of the Interior. Parties whose lists have not been retained “may appeal to the Constitutional Court”, however, said the president of the Cena.

The Cena had registered a total of seven lists of nominations for the legislative elections that will elect 83 new deputies. Several thousand people had blocked last week the bridge connecting the two main cities of the country, Cotonou and Porto Novo, at the call of the USL, to protest the “blocking” of opposition lists, many parties were unable to register their candidates for non-compliance with the electoral code. In mid-January, former President Thomas Boni Yayi launched a call for a united front in the legislative elections against President Talon, elected in March 2016 and accused of authoritarian drift, while several opponents were the subject of lawsuits they month.

MPs are elected every four years. Five million Beninese are registered on the electoral lists.