No matter what the plan is in 2020 or 2021, Beninese electoral staff recruited on candidature are required to participate in the organization under the risk of punishment. This is the new formula found by MEPs to solve the problem of the high abstention rate recorded during the last legislative elections due to these agents.
At the end of the legislative elections on Sunday 28th April 2019, the low participation of Beninese in the vote marred the good repute of the people’s elected representatives who are struggling to get rid of the smell of illegitimacy that sticks to their skin. To settle this situation definitively in the future, they have introduced a binding provision in the electoral code to prevent election officers such as “DAA” or members of the polling station, for example, from evading their duties. Indeed, the article of the new electoral code stipulates: “Participating in the organization of elections is a civic duty that can be entrusted to any citizen. Anyone who accepts this duty cannot avoid it, under penalty of sanctions except in cases of major force.”. A well-thought-out arrangement for bringing boycotts or agents who abandon the mission at the last minute into line.
Given that since the last parliamentary elections, things have not fundamentally changed on the side of the opposition political parties, which until now have remained without legal existence, with the exception of the Fceb, which has had an arrangement, the 2020 municipal elections could suffer the same fate as the last legislative elections. This possibility has just been resolved by this provision of the new electoral code, which threatens to punish any electoral officer who voluntarily refrains from doing what he was recruited to do in the context of the general organization of elections.
The spirit that led to this provision probably aims to prevent manoeuvres by certain political actors, particularly the opposition, which, excluded from the competition, can send activists to run for election agent positions and then disappear at the last moment, thus preventing citizens from voting.