LOME, Togo

More than 5 million Beninese voters are going to the polls on Sunday to elect their new president.

According to the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA), 5,523,524 voters will cast their ballots in 7,860 polling stations, including 11 abroad for 45,543 Beninese nationals outside the country.

In the West African country of more than eleven million inhabitants, the polls opened at 7 a.m. (0600GMT) and will close at 4 p.m. (1500GMT).

“In the south of the country, everything seems quiet, while some polling stations are still waiting for the electoral materials. In the center and the north, media sources report tensions and break-ins,” Josaphat Finogbe, a Beninese journalist told Anadolu Agency.

Three candidates are running for the top post in the country, namely Patrice Talon, the sitting president who served a first term of five years, former minister Alassane Soumano and opposition figure Corentin Kohoue.

Talon is accused of having other serious political opponents arrested, while the two candidates running against him are not very popular on the Beninese political scene.

Some argue that Soumano and Kohoue are being used to legitimize Talon’s candidacy.

“Let’s be clear, Talon will run again,” Regis Hounkpe, a geopolitical analyst, told Anadolu Agency.

On April 9, 2021, Antonio Guterres, through his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, urged national stakeholders in Benin to “ensure that the elections are conducted in a transparent, credible and peaceful manner.”

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