Voter Registration Glitches Prolong Local Elections In Benin

Written by Makula Dunbar

From Naharnet via AFP

Several hundred people took to the streets of Benin’s economic capital on Wednesday to demand the holding of long-delayed local elections postponed over problems with voter registration.

“Enough is enough. (Benin President Thomas) Boni Yayi and his henchmen have to organize elections. Go now and leave us our democracy,” shouted one protester in Cotonou.

Local elections — last held in 2008 and at which Boni Yayi suffered heavy losses — were due to have been held across the tiny West African state in March 2013 but have been pushed back.

Many of the protesters were dressed in red in a symbol of what they said was their anger at the continued delays but with wider skepticism about the government’s motives for the postponement.

Benin’s digitized electoral roll system descended into chaos during the last presidential elections in 2011 when more than 1.5 million people could not find their names on the list.

The government in the nation of roughly 10 million people has since been trying to fix the problem but the country’s main opposition has suggested it is a delaying tactic to allow Boni Yayi to cling to power.

Parliamentary elections are due to be held next year and for a new president in 2016, with Boni Yayi at the center of claims that he is looking to change the constitution to secure a third term.

Read more at Naharnet