Benin kicks off polls to elect new president

Polls open in Benin presidential election with 33 candidates contesting for power

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A defaced billboard is seen along a road, a day before Benin's presidential election in Cotonou.

Updated Mar 7, 2016

Benin kicked off polls on Sunday to replace President Thomas Boni Yayi who is stepping down after two terms, as 33 candidates are contesting for power.

The election started slowly in the capital with electoral agents presenting voting materials and small queues of voters forming at the polling stations, a witness said.    

"I have just voted. It's a matter of pride for me to have done my duty as a citizen. My candidate will win. I don't think there will be too many (logistical) difficulties," said Clarisse Nibime who voted in the capital.

Incumbent Boni Yayi’s decision to step down excluded him from other African leaders in countries such as Burundi, Rwanda and Congo Republic who have changed the constitutional term limit for a third term.

Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, a former economist and investment banker supported by president Yayi and the main opposition Democratic Renewal Party is among the 33 candidates.

A big choice facing voters is who best can create jobs and improve education amid economic crisis and huge rate of unemployment in the West African nation. 

TRTWorld, Reuters