10 March 2016

Benin: Presidential Candidates in Benin Negotiate Coalitions

Photo: Supplied
Patrice Talon, Benin's president-elect.

Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou and businessman Patrice Talon will compete in the second round of the presidential election.

Intense political negotiations are ongoing in Benin ahead of the second round of the presidential election that will pit Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou of the ruling party and the opposition businessman Patrice Talon. The country's electoral commission on March 8 announced the partial results of Sunday's election with Lionel Zinsou coming first with 28.44 per cent of the votes cast and Patrice Talon second with 24.8 per cent of the votes.

The two candidates who have qualified for the second round of the presidential poll are working hard on the field to maximize their winning chances. The Chinese news agency, Xinhua reported that Patrice Talon held a secret meeting last Tuesday with members of the coalition called "Rupture" to define strategies to follow in the poll. Key members of the coalition include Sébastien Ajavon who came third in the poll scoring 23.03 per cent of the votes cast, Abdoulaye Bio Tchané who had 8.79 per cent and Pascal Iréne Koupaki who had 5.85 per cent. He also reportedly had discussions with Bruno Amoussa, president of "l'Union fait la Nation" the biggest group that brings together political parties that was opposed to outgoing President Thomas Boni Yayi.

Lionel Zinsou's camp of the political coalition in power is also reportedly defining strategies to strengthen the cohesion within the alliances of what is called "des Forces Cauris pour un Bénin émergent (FCBE), and allied parties grouped under the Party for Democratic New Deal (PRD) and the Renaissance of Benin (RB). He is also targeting other candidates who competed in the first round of the election such as Sébastien Ajavon and Abdoulaye Bio Tchané.

As the candidates prepare, different observer missions and civil society organizations have given their recommendations on better ways of organising the second round of the poll.

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