The main contender in Benin’s Presidential race, Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou failed to secure more than 50 percent of the votes in Sunday’s elections and so a face-off between himself and businessman Patrice Talon who had the second highest percentage of votes will have to be conducted.
For those who may still be unaware of the results, the top five candidate percentages from Sunday’s election; which was initially delayed after problems with the distribution of polling cards to the 4.7 million registered to vote, an issue that continued until the day before the poll, are as follows;
- Lionel Zinsou – 28.4%
- Patrice Talon – 24.8%
- Sebastien Ajavon – 23.03%
- Abdoulaye Bio Tchane – 8.79%
- Pascal Jean Irenne – 5.85%
A whooping thirty-three candidates had actually been a part of the race to replace President Bon Yayi who is stepping down after spending two terms in office. Benin’s constitution stopped Mr Boni Yayi from seeking a third term, although he had attempted tentatively to effect changes to the law allowing him to do so, he however did not pursue it, thankfully making Benin to escape categorization with other African countries like Burundi, Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville who have recently changed their constitutions to allow third terms. There has still not been a date scheduled for the run-off elections and the provisional results will have to be confirmed by the constitutional court.
Challenges to the result may be inevitable as another businessman Sebastien Ajavon finished a mere 2% behind Mr. Patrice Talon. Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou has always come across as being the man to beat, he is a Franco-Beninese who became Prime Minister just last year and had priorly headed France’s largest investment bank.
A lot of people consider him to be France’s candidate and it is the major point his detractors project, as Benin which gained independence from France in 1960 still contends with rumors of France’s influence. The West African nation introduced multi-party democracy in 1990 after nearly two decades of military rule and was the first to do so in sub-Saharan Africa.