Benin’s Talon Wins Re-Election in Vote Lacking Main Opposition

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Benin’s President Patrice Talon won re-election Tuesday with 86% of votes, according to provisional results, and is expected to lead the West African nation for another five years.

Talon got 1.98 millions of ballots cast, according to the Autonomous National Electoral Commission, known by its French acronym, Cena. His closest opponent, Alassane Soumanou, a former education minister, received 11.3% of voters’ support, and the only other candidate got 2.4%.

Benin’s Talon Wins Re-Election in Vote Lacking Main Opposition

The lead-up to the April 11 election, which recorded a participation of 50%, was marred by protests and the disqualification of the incumbent’s strongest rivals.

Benin, once a regional exemplar of multiparty democracy, sidelined the political opposition under Talon’s presidency. Its parliament, controlled by parties that back Talon, passed electoral laws in 2019 that effectively made it more difficult for opposition candidates to run. Last month, the Constitutional Court rejected 17 out of 20 presidential hopefuls.

Political and social tensions are among the country’s credit challenges, Aurelien Mali, a vice president and sovereign analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, said in a note Monday. “Relatively low per-capita income, and a relatively undiversified economy, which still struggles to attract significant foreign direct investments,” are also concerns, he wrote before the election results.

The cotton producer’s economic growth is expected to rebound to 5% this year from an estimated 2.3% in 2020, according to Moody’s.

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