The people of Benin voted quietly and calmly on Sunday to elect their 109 deputies, a ballot marked by the return of the opposition, a first under President Patrice Talon after four years of absence.
This is a key test for the small West African country, once seen as a model of democracy, where President Talon has fostered economic development, according to his supporters, but at the cost of democratic backsliding, according to the opposition. Because today, the main opposition figures are either behind bars or in exile.
The streets of Cotonou, the economic capital, were calm and all markets and shops were closed.
Polling stations should open at 07:00 (06:00 GMT) and close at 16:00 (15:00 GMT) but many delays have been recorded, according to the Civil Society Electoral Platform (PEOSC).
The last legislative elections organized in 2019 were marked by deadly violence, record abstention, and a total shutdown of the internet, extremely rare events in Benin.
The opposition was unable to participate in the elections due to a tightening of the voting rules. Only two formations of the presidential movement had been authorized to compete, giving rise to a Parliament entirely won over by President Talon.