Benin leader poll draws 33 candidates

By BBC

Polls have opened in Benin’s general election, with 33 candidates fighting to become president.

Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down as leader in the West African nation of 10.6m people after two terms.

The ruling party’s candidate is Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, who used to head France’s largest investment bank.

The election was delayed after problems with the distribution of polling cards, an issue that continued until the day before the vote.

Mr Zinsou, who is Franco-Beninese, is considered as “France’s candidate” by his detractors, RFI reports. Benin gained independence from France in 1960.

Job creation and anti-corruption drives are two of the main promises being made by candidates.

Among other leading candidates are two prominent businessmen, Sebastien Avajon and Patrice Talon, as well as economist Abdoulaye Bio Tchane and financier Pascal Irenee Koupaki.

Benin’s constitution barred Mr Boni Yayi from seeking a third term, although he had tentatively sought changes to the text allowing him to do so.

The rulers of other African countries such as Burundi, Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville have recently changed their constitutions to allow third terms.

  

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