Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

The certificate of conformity, the bone of contention of the legislative elections in Benin

10.03.2019
Article from AFRIC editorial
The legislative elections of April 28 will take place without opposition in Benin. Indeed, none of its representatives were authorized by the National Independent Electoral Commission (Cena) to introduce themselves. On the list released on March 5, there are only two political parties supporting the President of the Republic Patrice Talon, the Progressive Union (UP) and the Republican Bloc (BR).

In making public his decision, Emmanuel Tiando, the president of the electoral commission explained to have shown impartiality and neutrality by rejecting; after examination, the lists of three parties, two of the “movement presidential”, the Party of the democratic renewal and ‘’Moele’’ Benin , and one of the opposition, Force Cauris for the development of Benin.

On the other hand, the commission “refrained from examining the admissibility” of the files of two other opposition parties, notably the Social Liberal Union (USL), the businessman Sébastien Ajavon, for “incomplete file and lack of certificate of conformity »

Last July, the Law on the Charter of Political Parties brought new provisions on the creation and public financing of political parties in Benin. Among these was the filing of a certificate of conformity with the Constitutional Court to stand for parliamentary elections.

The main opposition parties have not been able to provide this famous certificate and have denounced an additional administrative hassle. For the opponents, this new obligation has electoral motivations. In an interview with radio Deutsch Welle, spokesman of the FCBE opposition party, Nouréni Atchadé had estimated that “the two formations of the head of state, the Progressive Union and the Republican Bloc, cannot have the final receipt for filing the files at the National Electoral Commission. So to save these two formations of the head of state, the constitutional court invented a document called certificate of conformity. For Nouréni Atchadé, it is an additional handicap for the opposition “we know all the difficulties we have to have the administrative documents. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for giving us the certificate of conformity. And this ministry is under the authority of someone we oppose”.

 

Faced with what the opposition describes as fierce, the Beninese authorities see it as an opportunity to clean up the political landscape, which is marked by the proliferation of political parties. Seized by the opposition to break this requirement of a certificate of conformity, the Supreme Court has also declared itself incompetent to decide.

This is a heavy blow on the opposition, as only the Social Liberal Union (USL) of Sebastien Ajavon, was able to fulfill this formality. It was known that former rebel Bonin Yayi’s Forces who called for an emerging Benin (FCBE) and Candide Azannai’s party Restore Hope (RE), former Defense Minister Patrice Talon, would not be running for these legislative elections. These two political parties the opposition counted to oppose the presidential movement, had chosen simply not to align for the competition by not filing their applications to the electoral commission at the end of the deadlines. The spokesperson for the former president’s party made it clear that they did not get the certificate of compliance. So, the FCBE did not “push the vice to go drop the file anyway because it would have been as if we knew that our file was incomplete and that we would have deposited it anyway. We did not want to do that”.

The Cowry Forces for the Development of Benin (FCDB), the Progressive Union, the Elites Movement committed to the emancipation of Benin (MOELE Benin), the Democratic Renewal Party (PRD), the Republican Bloc, the Social Union Liberal (USL) and the Union for the Development of a New Benin (UDBN) were the other parties that had filed their cases.

The holding of these legislative elections without the opposition is a real surprise in a country yet hailed as a good student in the field of democracy in Africa. Benin, unlike many African countries, has always set a good example. Following the presidential elections held after the 1990 national conference, then-president Mathieu Kerekou ceded power to winner Nicephore Soglo. In the 1996 presidential election, Mathieu Kerekou nicknamed the “chameleon” returned to business. He will stay there until 2006. Many thought that Mathieu Kerekou would do as some of his peers by skipping the lock of term limits but the chameleon was respectful of the constitution by not representing himself. The 2006 elections were won by Boni Yayi. After 2 mandates as authorized by the constitution, the latter left power. The businessman Patrice Talon succeeded him after the elections of 2016.

Article from AFRIC editorial.

Credit images/google images/Benin parlement.

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