Shocker of shockers! The results of Benin’s run-off elections has stamped opposition candidate, Patrice Talon as the winner of the narrowed down race. He garnered the majority of votes in the second round of polls.
See Also: Benin To Have Second Run-Off Elections
The 57-year-old beat Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, who was broadly favored to win the race, to claim the Presidential seat of the West African country, following the rule of President Bon Yayi, who has spent his constitutionally allowed two terms in office. Mr Zinsou had immediately called Mr. Talon to congratulate him on his victory even prior to the declaration of his victory.
The victory of Mr Talon is a little surprising as Mr. Zinsou ran on the platform of the country’s ruling party and seemed to have had better chances. Mr Talon however portrayed himself as the authentic Beninese through the course of the campaigns, a stance which Mr Zinsou could lay no claim to as he has a dual French nationality. It also helped that 24 of the 32 candidates in the election, including the third-place Sebastine Ajavon, who won 22% in the first round, later endorsed as their candidate for the second round of voting, Mr. Talon, who had won 23.5% to Zinsou’s 27.1%.
Mr Talon rose from humble beginnings, making his money running the port at Cotonou and actually bankrolled, incumbent President Bon Yayi’s successful campaigns in 2006 and 2011 but had to flee to Paris after he fell out with President Bon Yayi, following an accusation that he planned to overthrow him in a coup. He then returned to the country only last October when he was granted a Presidential pardon.
The president-elect has his work cut out for him as Benin received one of the lowest rankings in this year’s world happiness index. The ranking is important when you consider that it is based on proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. In its rankings, the reports considers six variables: GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, trust (or absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (measured by donations).