Benin shifts presidential poll by one week

Benin shifts presidential poll by one week

Friday, February 12, 2016 2:39 pm

Lionel Zinsou: main contender

Lionel Zinsou: main contender

The first round of Benin’s presidential election has been postponed by a week to March 6 because of problems with the distribution of voting materials, the constitutional court said late on Thursday.

The first round was initially scheduled for Feb. 28 but, as of Feb. 6, voter cards had only been distributed in two of its dozen departments, prompting the opposition to cry foul.

The constitutional court added in its decision that if this year’s voter cards were not available for some people they could use those from polls in 2015.

“The president of the republic is invited to call the electoral body … to the polls for the first round of the vote on Sunday, March 6, 2016,” the decision read.

Incumbent president Thomas Boni Yayi is barred by constitutional limits from seeking another term and is not running for re-election.

He has publicly backed Lionel Zinsou, his prime minister and a former investment banker, who has also received support from the leading opposition party despite attracting criticism for spending much of his life outside Benin.

He will face 32 other candidates who have been approved by the constitutional court to vie for the presidency.

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