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Trump to kickoff his re-election campaign mid-June

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President Donald Trump, facing a potentially difficult path to winning a second term in November 2020, plans an official rollout to his re-election campaign in mid-June, the four-year anniversary of his first run, sources said on Monday.
Trump is likely to kick off his campaign with a rally in Florida, possibly on June 15, followed in the days afterward with stops in battleground states, said the sources, who are close to the White House and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The date will be close to the four-year anniversary of when Trump rode the escalator at Trump Tower down to a crowd of supporters and announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015.
The Trump campaign declined to comment. The president has already been raising money for his re-election and holding political rallies for many months.
Trump considers Florida to be something of a second home, since he owns the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach and stays there regularly.
He won Florida in 2016. But as is the case for Trump in many battleground states, his victory is not assured there in 2020 and he will likely face a fight to win it again.
Since Trump took over as president in early 2017, the U.S. economy has soared with low unemployment and strong growth. Typically presidents with an economy this vibrant would be strong bets for re-election.
But Trump’s polarizing presidency has given hope to a host of Democratic contenders that he can be denied a second term.
Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, who was vice president to President Barack Obama, has sounded a unifying theme to try to rally Americans behind his candidacy. In second place in the Democratic polls is democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.
Trump has dubbed Biden “Sleepy Joe” to try to undermine him, in much the same way as he gave Republican contender Jeb Bush the nickname, “low-energy Jeb” in 2016. Trump tweeted on Monday that China, locked in difficult trade talks with Trump, would like Biden as president.
“Looks like Bernie Sanders is history. Sleepy Joe Biden is pulling ahead and think about it, I’m only here because of Sleepy Joe and the man who took him off the 1% trash heap, President O! China wants Sleepy Joe BADLY!” he said.
Trump is expected to stress the strong economy in his re-election effort, but he told the Fox News Channel’s “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” last week that the economy alone will bore his supporters at his rallies.
“If I stood there and talked about the economy for that long a period – let’s say, the economy’s great, unemployment’s low, we’re doing wonderful…they’d start falling asleep,” he said.
Reporting By — Steve Holland | REUTERS

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Politics

Benin: Court confirms the re-election of President Talon

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The re-election of President Patrice Talon was confirmed Wednesday by the Constitutional Court of Benin.

Talon, 62, in power since 2016, won the April 11 poll alongside Vice President Mariam Chabi Talata, with 1,982,534 votes out of a total of 2,297,315 valid votes cast, according to the court.

The re-elected president is the 14th head of state of the Republic of Benin.

Some opposition parties boycotted the presidential election due to pre-election violence and their objection to President Patrice Talon’s quest for a second term.

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Somalia: Parliament votes to extend presidential term

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The lower house of Somalia’s parliament voted on Monday to extend the president’s term by two years.

It is about letting the African nation prepare for direct elections, said Mohamed Mursal Sheikh, speaker of parliament.

One hundred and forty-nine (149) lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal which one rejected and three abstained, Mursal said.

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Guinea jails opposition figure for ‘insurrection’

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The judge gave Onivogui a one-year sentence and fined him 30 million Guinean francs (2,500 euros, $3,000).

A Guinean court on Monday jailed a doctor and leader of an aid group for a year for crimes including calling for insurrection, after he campaigned against President Alpha Conde’s standing for a third term in 2020.

Arrested in November a few weeks after Conde’s fiercely opposed reelection, Mamady Onivogui leads the Sante Vie pour Tous (Health and Life for All) group in southeastern city Macenta, as well as being the local representative for opposition movement Elazologa (That Won’t Work).

A court on the outskirts of capital Conakry found him guilty Monday of inciting violence and insurrection, threats and offending the head of state.

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The judge gave Onivogui a one-year sentence and fined him 30 million Guinean francs (2,500 euros, $3,000).

At his trial late last month, prosecutors claimed he “used offensive words tending to disturb public order and tarnish the president’s honour”, calling for a 10-year sentence and a fine triple the final amount.

“I have never used offensive language about anyone at all,” Onivogui retorted, while his lawyer Salifou Beavogui said he would appeal.

“My husband fights every day for our city to have power, water and classrooms. I know that it’s in part because of that that people in high places wish him harm,” Onivogui’s wife Mamadama Sylla told AFP.

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Alpha Conde’s bid for a third term was met with months of demonstrations by both the political opposition and civil society groups, which the government countered with sometimes brutal force, and dozens of people died after the protests began in October 2019.

Conde, 83, was nevertheless reelected in the first round.

Since then, aid groups like Amnesty International have accused the government of carrying out a wave of arrests and of responsibility for the deaths of people in custody, allegations the government denies.

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