President Talon’s handling of democracy and freedoms is criticized by his opponents and international NGOs. The climate is tense and the opposition’s demands to take measures to facilitate the political climate have so far not been followed. But on Wednesday, Patrice Talon received her predecessor Boni Yayi at the presidential palace for the first time since 2016.
So far, the opposition has formulated its demands during meetings, press conferences or via social networks. Boni Yayi decided to take them directly to President Talon in his palace and without witnesses. The approach is new. Suddenly, this meeting, still inconceivable the day before, is interpreted by observers as the beginning of a process.
One question: are the two men now ready to turn the page and make big concessions? Publicly, Patrice Talon said nothing about the claims of his predecessors: the release of political prisoners and the return of refugees. But it’s not just that, the election calendar prescribes legislative elections in 2023, reminds our correspondent in Cotonou, Jean-Luc Aplogan.
Boni Yayi did not mention this issue, but he is counting heavily on the opposition, which wants the screws that deprived him of the 2019 election and the 2021 presidential election to be lifted. Let’s not go faster than music, mutes a warning observer, let’s wait for signs from every political camp in the coming days.
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The political class awaiting Talon’s response On the part of the political class, reactions were mixed after this meeting. Surprise for some, frustration at not being invited for others. If he says he is happy with Boni Yayi’s proposal, Antoine Guédou, vice-president of the opposition collective, is waiting for an answer from Patrice Talon: “Already the release of the prisoners, the return of the refugees. We are in the republic so respect the law, that’s all! Respect for the texts of the republic. The political class is waiting for President Talon’s response. ”
Member of the Presidential Movement, Abdoulaye Gounou believes that Patrice Talon did not have to respond directly to Boni Yayi for protocol reasons and that for the whole political class the most important thing is to move forward: “We are stuck in war and interpersonal quarrels will not bring anything back to our country . ”
It remains to be seen how President Patrice Talon will respond to this call from Boni Yayi. Some in the opposition do not believe in this outstretched hand: “They have already beaten us, they are only interested in their political agenda”.