Former president criticises Benin’s $450K ‘election fee’

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Nicephore Soglo

A former president of Benin has strongly criticised a new law which requires anyone wanting to stand in presidential elections to pay the equivalent of around $450,000.

President Patrice Athanase Guillaume Talon of Benin addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The figure constitutes a whopping 1500 percent increase from the $26.5-thousand in the 2016 election. Critics of current president, Patrice Talon denounced the move as on the favors only the rich and well-connected.

Candidates interested in the legislative elections, with now have to pay more than $440,000 up from the 2016 fee of 14,000.

Nicephore Soglo, who served as president in the 1990s, hates the recently-approved law.

Former Benin president, Nicephore Soglo Courtesy: BBC

“By brutally and clumsily excluding anyone who is young, poor or disadvantaged, the government and its allies in parliament have this time gone too far,” Mr. Soglo said .

As honorary president of the opposition party Renaissance Benin, Soglo has never minced his words about current president, Patrice Talon’s leadership, denouncing it over its authoritarian drift.

Since his election in March 2016, Talon has adopted a series of increasingly controversial reforms, triggering strikes and protests in this tiny West African country.

Earlier this month, protesters hit the streets after parliament adopted a law limiting the right to go on strike to a maximum of 10 days per year, for both public and private sector workers.

Provided Benin’s constitutional court confirms the law, parties will need to pay a similar fee to take part in parliamentary elections.

The next elections are scheduled for 2020.