#Legislative in Benin: end of campaign without great enthusiasm, opposition calls for boycott
The campaign of the legislative elections of April 28 ended Friday evening. In Cotonou, in the absence of the opposition, the mobilization was not at the rendezvous.
“Progressive Union: victory! “, Tentatively resumed a few hundred militants settled on a sanded place of the district Xwalcodji-beach, in the 15th electoral district of Cotonou. It has just been raining and the sky is still threatening.
Facing them, Delonix Kogblevi, the head of the list of the Progressive Union (UP), one of the two parties allowed to participate in the legislative elections of April 28 , tries to harangue the meager crowd. This Friday, April 26 marks the last day of the campaign. Traditionally in Cotonou, large caravans paraded throughout the city. But this year, the parades will be more discreet and have not mobilized the usual crowds.
In Cotonou, divided into two constituencies, nine seats of deputies are at stake. In the field, during the campaign, the competition between the Progressive Union and the Republican Bloc – these two new parties from the presidential movement – was unfolded in a good-natured atmosphere.
” The law is the law ”
Sitting on his scooter, Maxime unenthusiastically attended the meeting of his candidate, Delonix Kogblevi, a former Renaissance Benin (RB). “Compared to the last elections, there is no real mobilization. Usually, we see the activists come out, express their joy. This year, people come more out of curiosity, without much enthusiasm, “concedes this decorator with graying hair of fifty years.
Jacques joins the conversation. In his red raincoat, he says he regrets the non-participation of the opposition, but defends the line of Patrice Talon . “When the law on parties was passed in the Assembly, all the deputies voted favorably with the exception of one. The opposition was therefore favorable. She had six months to comply. The law is the law, “he says.
This Friday in Cotonou, the opposition has kept a low profile. His last attempts to express his dissatisfaction were killed in the bud . “We are being hunted down, some of our coordinators have been arrested,” says one of its leaders.
“The wave of arrests and detentions that is only gaining momentum in Benin raises serious concerns, especially in the context of elections,” Amnesty International said in a statement on April 26. The organization mentions the repression of three “peaceful demonstrations” in which “the deployed military and police carried firearms”.
On 19 April, a march organized by former presidents Nicephore Soglo and Thomas Boni Yayi was very quickly repressed by the police. Yayi then sent an open letter to President Talon before, according to our sources, he left the country for Nigeria. He was still there on Saturday morning. His relatives did not know if he would return to Benin on election day.
Call for boycott
Silent for several days, in search of the right strategy, was the opposition resigned to seeing the election stand without it? Will she try to disturb her on Sunday? On Friday, the Cowrie Force for an emerging Benin (FCBE, Yayi’s party), and the Social and Liberal Union (USL) of Sebastien Ajavon, in exile in France , called on the voters to boycott.
Denouncing an “institutional coup”, Joel Ajavon, the brother of the head of the USL, also called on “all institutions, all state bodies and every citizen to restore the constitutional order without delay.” And for their part, the FCBE encouraged their “activists, supporters and all the people of Benin to continue the resistance by all legal means”.
The same day, incidents took place in the commune of Tchaourou, the stronghold of Yayi in the North. A police vehicle was destroyed. A few hours earlier, the head of the Republican police, General Nazaire Hounnonkpe, had been reassuring that the security of the polls would be guaranteed, calling on voters to vote calmly.