Elections Continue in Benin

The African country of Benin had a run-off on Sunday after a second round presidential elections, the first in three decades.

Yayi Boni is said to be in the lead, but the country’s National Independent Electoral Commission(CENA) will announce the official results on Thursday. According to Andnetwork.com over four million citizens voted. The first election was March 5.

Some election officials allegedly underestimated the number of polling station and some complained of missing supplies. However, despite a candidate’s accusations, election officials at one voting center denied losing up to 1.3 million voting papers, according to independentonline.com.

“Today is a celebration,” President Mathieu Kerekou told independentonline.com on Sunday after the first round of elections. “However, it is important for me to say these elections will not be totally transparent. Everybody knows it, but nobody says it.”

The top three candidates of the 26 include president of the Party for Democratic Renewal, Adrien Houngbedji, head of the Social Democrat Party, Bruno Amoussou, and independent candidate Yayi Boni, according to cnn.com.

According to allafrica.com Boni, 54, promises to focus on economic policy, better management of state funds and improving investment conditions. Houngbedji, 64, vows to fight corruption, promote economic development and decentralization. “Peace is Benin’s heritage,” Houngbedji told allafrica.com. “It must be preserved at all costs and I feel that I am capable of preserving this peace so dear to our hearts.”

Amoussou, 67, promises a vision of toleration, security, justice and peace. “It is very noble to set develop goals, but these can only be attained in a climate of peace. You only have to look at what is happening in the sub-region to be convinced of this.”

An article in the Washington Post said that he United Nations ranks Benin at the bottom of the quality of life in the Human Development Index. 40 percent of Benin’s adults are literate, many live on only $3 a day and only half of the school aged children actually are enrolled in school.

Current President Mathieu Kerekou and former President Nicephore Soglo cannot run for office because of a constitutional law that forbids candidate under the age of 40 and over 70 to run again. There is also a two-term limit.

Kerekou came into power in 1972 and led a Marxist regime. He later became an advocate of democracy and lost in the 1991 election to Nicephore Soglo. Kerekou won office five years later and won in the 2001 election.