See also:
» 28.03.2011 - Fear of post-election violence in Benin
» 15.03.2011 - Benin opposition denounces election fraud
» 05.03.2011 - Benin protesters won demanded vote delay
» 21.02.2011 - Benin protests ahead of presidential polls
» 03.04.2006 - President-elect pledges change "with God's blessing"
» 23.03.2006 - Yayi Boni is Benin's next President
» 06.03.2006 - Benin President doubts ongoing poll's legitimacy
» 03.03.2006 - Underfinanced Benin election promises change

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Last minute delay of Benin polls

afrol News / IRIN, 26 March - Legislative elections in Benin were stalled on Friday following the last minute approval by the Constitutional Court and President Boni Yayi of a request by the National Electoral Commission for more time to prepare.

The poll, which was supposed to be being held on Sunday, will now be held one week later, on 31 March, according to a statement from the Presidency, released to the media on Friday.

The postponement was called because of "numerous difficulties", which would have prevented the National Election Commission (CENA) ensuring the voting process was free and fair, according to the press release.

"These difficulties are the consequence of a crisis which has shaken CENA since it was created on 13 January 2007, and that have made it unable to execute its many essential tasks," the statement said.

CENA's first head, Antonin Akpinkou, was replaced earlier this year after accusations from the government that the new body was already ignoring rules laid down in Benin's electoral law.

According to the Presidency's statement, CENA's failure to either transport voting equipment to booths around the country, or to properly scrutinise the electoral lists are the main problems now.

Some 4 million voters - over half of Benin's 7.5 million population - have apparently registered to vote for the 83 parliamentary seats, but some people say their names do not appear on the list even though they registered.

CENA apparently only received the electoral lists on 22 March, three days before the election was supposed to happen.

The country's last elections saw President Yayi, a political novice and former banker, elected in a landslide victory to the presidency on a platform that promised to end corruption and economic crime, and "reinstate ethics" in state institutions.

Also at that occasion, the national election body had faces problems, which it blamed on budget cuts. Nevertheless, Benin's presidential elections were generally estimated as both free and fair, although there had been some shortcomings due to CENA's strained budgets.

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