As the republic of Benin prepares for National Assembly (Parliamentary) elections in June, a study by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) on the cost of politics, reveals that the average cost to seek election to legislature in this west African nation is upwards of US$73,960 (CFA 40.3 million).
This cost is over and above the threshold of authorized expenses per candidate according to the country’s electoral law for legislative election which is $55,000 (CFA 30 million). The question here is on the efficacy of the sanction mechanisms when candidates violate the legally acceptable threshold.
The NIMD study further reveals that in general, candidates in rural electoral districts spend more than those in urban districts. This is because vote buying is favored in less literate and poorer rural areas.
The total average cost to get elected to parliament by percentage of annual Member of Parliament salary is 148%. The projected annual salary for a Member of Parliament in Benin is $108,877.
Comparatively, the cost of competing for a Parliamentary seat in Benin is much less than what a candidate would spend on election campaigns in Nigeria ($526,000), Kenya ($182,000), Uganda ($136,000), and other African countries where elective politics is highly monetised and commercialised.