Benin’s democratic beacon dims

benins democratic beacon dims

Sumary of Benin’s democratic beacon dims:

  • Says Rogatien Biaou, a former minister turned opposition figure in Benin, which will hold presidential elections on April 11th..
  • Many hoped Benin vigorous democracy could inspire greater freedom in the region authoritarian regimes, such as Chad, which is also holding elections on April 11th..
  • Mr Talon, a cotton magnate, came to power promising to consolidate Benin raucous and sometimes splintered democracy..
  • The electoral commission, which was packed with Mr Talon allies, then barred all opposition parties from the parliamentary election in 2019 for failing to follow the new rules closely enough..
  • The result was an abysmal turnout, a parliament made up entirely of supporters of Mr Talon, and protests to which security forces responded with live ammunition..
  • With a lock on parliament and all but a handful of mayors’ offices, Mr Talon and his allies could, in effect, choose who would run for president..
  • In 2018 he created a new court, known as CRIET, which is nominally for economic crimes and terrorism but has a habit of targeting Mr Talon rivals..
  • The latest was Ms Madougou, who, despite already being barred from standing for president, was arrested on March 3rd and later charged with financing terrorism and plotting to kill two political figures..
  • A CRIET judge who recently fled Benin said to RFI, a French state broadcaster, that the court is not independent..
  • Since Mr Talon came to power, Benin has fallen from 78th to 113th in a ranking of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, a watchdog based in Paris..
  • Opposition-linked television and radio stations have been shut down and in just two years at least 17 journalists and bloggers have been prosecuted under a new digital law..
  • Mr Talon admits that Benin has given up some democratic achievements, but says this was to allow for development….

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