Benin’s Constitutional Council this week declared President Boni Yayi as the winner of the March 13 presidential elections in Benin, but his principal challenger is contesting the result, reports ‘Fasozine’.
The council said Yayi won 53 percent of the vote in the first round, while his closest rival, Adrien Houngbédji could manage only 36 percent, giving the incumbent a first round victory.
Responding, Houngbédji alleged the result is fraudulent and said he plans to contest it through the court and public protest.
The election was postponed twice as a result of irregularities in electoral lists. The candidates had demanded it be postponed for a third time to allow for adequate preparation by the electoral commission. This was turned down.
Houngbédji’s rejection of the result is in contrast to his reaction in 2006, when he accepted defeat in the second round of presidential elections.
‘Radio France Internationale’ reports that he repudiated the outcome as “null and void” and of no consequence. He is calling on Béninois to put up a fight against what he terms “the systematic violation of democracy” in the country.
He said he is the winner of the election and has called on his partners and other political forces to join him and make their voices heard.
Marcel de Souza, a spokesman for the incumbent president, acknowledged Houngbédji’s right to contest the results but insisted he had to do this through the right channels and to produce evidence backing his claim. De Souza deplored Houngbédji’s declaration of himself as the winner as “ridiculous” and irresponsible.
If appeals are filed, the Constitutional Court is expected to decide on the final result by next week.
Adapted and translated by Michael Tantoh.