Benin election: Campaigning ends ahead of presidential vote

Throughout the campaign, no opposition candidate was able to match the funding and mobilisation of President Talon.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

AHMED IDRIS: In the final hours of campaigning, President Patrice Talon is leaving nothing to chance. He's back on the road again in a last ditch effort to garner votes. Recent opposition protests which are rare in Benin, are a concern for the governing party suggesting that the president's reelection may not be as easy as it seems after all. President Talon warned voters against handing the country to an opposition he says have no plan to move the country forward, promising to build on what he calls an era of unparalleled development for Benin.

[CAMPAIGNING]

PATRICE TALON: [NON-ENGLISH]

INTERPRETER: What we did in five years was not done in 50 years in the history of the country. What we've done is just a warm up. The best is yet to come.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

AHMED IDRIS: His supporters are almost certain about his re-election chances. They had the money and the organization to reach voters his challengers couldn't. Throughout the campaign, no opposition candidate was able to match the funding and mobilization of President Talon. The opposition said it's because the president and his party have access to state resources. It also said amended interim laws have given the president and his party an unfair advantage. But his supporters say his rise in popularity is because of his performances in office in the past five years.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The opposition is under immense pressure. Two days before the election, one of the candidates is threatening to pull out due to violence and intimidation of his supporters by government.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

CORENTIN KOHOUE: [NON-ENGLISH]

INTERPRETER: The country is passing through a crisis of confidence and distrust. Look around. Everyone here is scared. Even local chiefs are scared. We sacrificed ourselves to save this country. If the violence continues against the opposition, we'll have no alternative than to pull out from the race. Attaining power isn't worth the blood of any citizen.

CORENTIN KOHOUE: [NON-ENGLISH]

AHMED IDRIS: The president and his supporters may be upbeat about his chances. But for ordinary citizens, life is getting harder as unemployment is on the rise. The economy has slowed from an impressive growth of 6.9% in 2019 to 2.3% last year mainly because of COVID-19 and Nigeria's closing of its borders for 18 months hitting cross-border trade significantly. Many voters are still unsure if they will turn out to vote. But for those who say they will, they want whoever wins the election to widen the political space, create jobs, and reunite the people set apart by politics. Ahmed Idris, Al Jazeera, Cotonou.