Presidential election of Benin Republic holds on April 11, 2021

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Presidential elections in Benin, a West African state whose long record on democracy has become tarnished by accusations of authoritarianism, will take place in April, the government announced.

“In line with the constitution, the date of the first round of the presidential election… is Sunday April 11 2021,” it said in a statement Wednesday. President Patrice Talon, who made his fortune in cotton, came to power in 2016 on a modernising platform and a vow to stamp out corruption and mismanagement.

But he has been accused of driving rivals abroad and cracking down on political foes.

Touring the country earlier this week, Talon, who is widely expected to announce his candidacy, said the election would be a “people’s party” and he would “ensure that opposition candidates participate”.

The opposition and civil society groups have already expressed concerns about the vote.

They are sharply critical of a new law requiring candidates to be endorsed by at least at least 16 mayors or deputies.

Opposition parties were unable to participate in parliamentary elections in April 2019 because of restrictions, and many boycotted local elections held in April this year.

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