Benin opposition allowed to participate in legislative elections
Electoral authorities in Benin authorize seven political parties, including the opposition, to take part in the January 8 ballot for lawmakers.
Benin's opposition has been allowed to participate in January's legislative elections, four years after they were excluded from taking part in the last vote.
Electoral authorities have authorized seven political parties, including three claiming to be opposition, to take part in the January 8 ballot for lawmakers.
The opposition parties given the green light include the Democrats, who managed to win a last-minute constitutional court ruling on Saturday, allowing their candidates to run.
Legislative elections in 2019 ended in clashes that left several people dead after the opposition was banned and security forces violently repressed its supporters who took to the streets in the center of the country.
Only the two political parties supporting Benin's President Patrice Talon were allowed to take part.
In 2021, the main opposition leaders failed to participate in the presidential ballot that re-elected Talon, prompting more protests in opposition strongholds.
Two of the President's main opponents are still in prison with heavy sentences. Reckya Madougou was sentenced to 20 years in prison for "terrorism", while Joel Aivo -- an academic -- was given 10 years in prison for "conspiracy against the authority of state" in December 2021.
The Cauris Forces for an Emerging Benin or FCBE party and the Popular Liberation Movement or MPL party are the two other opposition movements that will take part.
All three will look to win as many seats as possible in the 109-member parliament, which is currently controlled by pro-Talon parties.
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