Talon wins Benin presidential race

2016-03-21 13:19
Benin's Patrice Talon casts his ballot in Cotonou. (Valentin Salako, AP)

Benin's Patrice Talon casts his ballot in Cotonou. (Valentin Salako, AP)

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Cotonou - Businessman Patrice Talon won the second round of Benin's presidential election on Sunday, his adversary and incumbent Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou said before the release of official results.

"The provisional results point to a decisive victory for Patrice Talon," said Zinsou. "The difference is significant, (Talon's) electorial victory is certain.

"I have called Patrice Talon to congratulate him on his victory...wish him good luck and put myself at his disposal to prepare for the handover."

Change constitution

He is bowing out after serving a maximum two five-year terms,making him stand out from many African leaders who have tried to change their country's constitution to stay in power.

Benin's electoral commission is expected to announce provisional results later on Monday, Zinsou said.

The 61-year-old came out top in the first round of elections held on March 6 with 27.1% of the vote, compared to 23.5% for Talon.

The prime minister, who was a candidate for Boni Yayi's Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE), was seen as the frontrunner with the support of most lawmakers in parliament.

But Talon, a 57-year-old entrepreneur who made his money in cotton and running Cotonou's port, billed himself as the authentic Beninese candidate and repeatedly attacked his opponent's dual French nationality.

First round

Zinsou, who attended an elite French university and was a speechwriter for the former prime minister Laurent Fabius, has been called a "yovo" or "the white man" during the campaign.

He also took a knock when 24 of the 32 other candidates who stood in the first round came out in support of the businessman, including third-placed Sebastien Ajavon, who won 22% of votes.

Read more on:    patrice talon  |  benin

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