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Unrest after Benin vote May 2019 Unrest after Benin vote May 2019   (AFP or licensors)

Benin Bishops say political mediation continues

The Bishops of Benin say they are continuing with their mediation efforts to resolve the political crisis in the country that followed disputed elections in April. Their statement comes after some media outlets reported that the Church had withdrawn from negotiations.

In a statement issued by the Episcopal Conference of Benin, the Bishops said the Church, contrary to some media reports, had not suspended its mediation work between the government and opposition groups to resolve the political crisis that followed legislative elections that took place on the of 28 April.

The bishops had offered to mediate after the electoral commission ruled that only two parties allied to President Patrice Talon were allowed to participate. Following that decision opposition parties urged supporters to boycott the ballot.

Only 22.99% of voters went to the polls, the lowest in the history of the country.

Following the election, clashes erupted in Cotonou and other parts of the country between police and hundreds of demonstrators, several of whom were supporters of former President Thomas Boni Yayi. 

At the time, the Bishops' Conference of Benin condemned the violence, urging politicians "to reconnect the thread of dialogue to safeguard social peace and national unity”. They also proposed mediation.

In this latest statement the Bishops reaffirmed their commitment to work for social cohesion in Benin.

22 August 2019, 13:10