Benin leader’s allies win parliamentary majority: results

Benin President Boni Yayi’s allies have won a majority of seats in parliament following April 30 polls in the West African nation, results from the electoral agency showed Friday.

The results are only considered “partial” because they have not yet been approved by the country’s constitutional court, said electoral commission head Joseph Gnonlonfoun, who read out the results.

If the results are upheld, the election would be a major victory for Yayi, with the opposition having previously controlled the parliament.

However, Benin politicians frequently change parties and alliances and it is unclear whether his majority will last even if upheld.

Yayi hoped to win a parliamentary majority to reinforce his mandate after his re-election in March was disputed by the opposition.

Parties allied to Yayi won a total of 52 seats compared to the opposition Build the Nation Union coalition’s 31 seats.

Yayi and his allies currently control 34 seats compared to the opposition’s 49.

Following the March 13 presidential election, Yayi’s main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji, rejected the results, alleging widespread fraud and claiming victory for himself.

But the courts rejected the opposition’s allegations and confirmed that the president had been re-elected.

Yayi, a 58-year-old economist, won with 53 percent compared to Houngbedji’s 36 percent.

Houngbedji, who has run for president five times, was backed by many of the country’s traditional political elites in the March election.

Benin, perhaps best known as the heartland of voodoo, has an economy that relies on its port, cotton cultivation and commerce with its giant, oil-rich neighbour Nigeria.

The former French colony has a population of some 9.3 million. AFP

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