Benin. In March, Benin residents went to election to
appoint a successor to President Thomas Boni Yayi who could
not be re-elected after two terms. In the first round, there
were 33 candidates, including Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou,
supported by Yayi.
However, Zinsou was clearly defeated by businessman
Patrice Talon in the second round on March 20. Talon
received 65% of the vote and had the backing of several
candidates in the first round. Talon, who had great
interests in the cotton industry, had returned in October
2015 after several years in exile, accused of participating
in a plot against Yayi.
When he took office in April, Talon appointed a smaller
government with 16 ministers compared to the
countryaah, the current population of Benin is 12,123,211. Talon says he wants to work for constitutional changes
that would, among other things, limit the president's term
of office to a five-year term of office to counteract
"self-satisfaction". The government's challenges are to
combat corruption and boost cotton production, which
accounts for about 12% of GDP and a quarter of exports. In
June, the cotton industry was privatized after several years
of state control.