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Voting Underway in Benin Presidential Poll


Polls have opened in Benin, where voters are choosing a successor to long-time President Mathieu Kerekou.

After casting his ballot Sunday in Cotonou, Mr. Kerekou expressed doubt about the vote's transparency.

The French press agency quotes him as saying unnamed groups gave false names and voter cards to foreigners in the west African nation before the poll.

Some four million people are eligible to cast ballots in the election, which features 26 candidates, including two women. A second round will be called in two weeks if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote.

President Kerekou is barred from running again because he is older than the 70 year age limit.

Mr. Kerekou first came to power in a military coup in 1972 and led the country to its first democratic elections in 1991, which he lost. He returned to office after winning a 1996 vote.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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