West Africa satisfied with Benin vote
Cotonou – Observers from the west African bloc Ecowas said on Monday that Benin’s presidential vote was mainly free and transparent, but noted organisational problems for the twice-postponed election.
“The mission finds that throughout nearly all of the country, the March 13 2011 elections were on the whole carried out under acceptable conditions of freedom and transparency,” a statement on Sunday’s vote said.
It pointed out, however, a “shortage of ballots in certain centres as well as differences in the interpretation of some rules and procedures of the process”.
The 15-member Ecowas team, which had about 100 observers in the country, said the vote-counting had gone well and commended “the order and calm atmosphere” during the election.
The statement was signed by Aichatou Mindaoudou, the former Niger foreign minister who headed the Ecowas mission.
Unofficial and partial results showed on Monday that Benin President Boni Yayi and his main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji, appeared headed for a run off after a vote that was mostly calm despite chaotic preparations.
The election had previously been postponed twice with preparations far from complete.
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