AFRICA/BENIN - President Talon re-elected; tensions on the eve of the vote: representatives of religious confessions in meditation at the tomb of Mgr. Isidore de Souza

Thursday, 15 April 2021 dialogue   prayer   bishops  

Cotonou (Agenzia Fides) - Patrice Talon, outgoing President of Benin, obtained a second term in the elections held on Sunday 11 April. This was announced by the Electoral Commission according to which Talon was re-elected with 86% of the vote. President Talon was first elected in 2016, but his first term was marked by strong criticism from the opposition, which denounced the repression of opponents, many of whom are either in prison, in exile or have been prevented from taking part in the vote.
Some international observers said the turnout was "low", but voting was carried out peacefully, despite tensions and protests, before the elections, in which two people died. Tensions and violence that had caused fear for the degeneration of the situation in the months preceding the vote.
The major religions of the country met on March 24 for an intercessory prayer for peace. The Catholic clergy together with representatives of other religious confessions and the traditional kings of Benin gathered to visit and pray at the tomb of Archbishop Isidore de Souza, buried at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercy in Cotonou.
Mgr. Isidore de Souza was Archbishop of Cotonou from 1990 to 1999, and was also President of the National Sovereign Conference of Benin, the event that allowed the country to move from a single party to a multi-party. Following the example of Benin, other African countries in the French-speaking area took similar initiatives to switch to multi-partisism.
Furthermore, on March 25, his Excellency Mgr. Roger Houngbédji, Archbishop of Cotonou, celebrated a Mass in the Church of Saint Michel de Cotonou to implore the goodness and mercy of the Lord for Benin and to invite the reconciliation of hearts. (L.M) (Agenzia Fides, 15/4/2021)