Benin defies economic concerns, set to elect new president

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Tvc news: Inspite of visible economic and logistic concerns, Benin will vote for a new president on Sunday in a crowded race focused on boosting the flagging economy. Though logistical problems may keep hundreds of thousands from casting their ballots, the country’s electoral body has assured of free, fair and credible polls that are devoid of any political wranglings.

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Current President Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down after two terms at the helm of the small West African cotton-producer, leaving 33 candidates vying to replace him. Benin has not seen the levels of political tension that have plagued other recent votes across the continent, including in Burundi and Rwanda where leaders have tested constitutional limits to stand for a third term.

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But there are concerns frustrations could rise because of delays in distributing voting cards that have already held up the vote by one week. “The problem is that many of the old cards had problems that weren’t addressed,” said Fidele Marcos Kikan, who heads Amnesty International’s Benin branch. “I myself have not received my card so I cannot vote. There are many people who cannot vote.”

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Campaigning has centered largely on the unemployment, education and economic growth which has slackened as plummeting oil prices hit Benin’s much larger neighbour and main trading partner, Nigeria.

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