Benin’s court okays Talon’s election victory

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Benin’s constitutional court has approved the provisional results of this week’s election giving President Patrice Talon a landslide victory after he faced only two little-known opponents.

Talon won 86.3 percent in the April 11 election that critics said was stacked in his favour, after a crackdown on opposition leaders left most of them exiled or disqualified from running on the ballot.

The court decision came shortly before another Talon opponent, Joel Aivo, one of those barred from running in the ballot, was taken in for questioning by police, one of his close associates said.

The constitutional court said it had cleared the preliminary results and any appeals could be made in the next five days, after which it will approve a definitive tally of ballots.

He confirmed results showing Talon had received the absolute majority of votes and was re-elected in the first round.

Talon, 62, appears free of major challenges for now, as his major rivals are sidelined in a West African country once praised as a beacon of multi-party democracy.

After his election victory, Talon took a hard line, vowing to crack down on perpetrators of pre-election violence during opposition protests that blocked roads in the centre and north of the country.

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