Accessibility links

Legislative Victory Goes to Benin President's Coalition


In Benin, official results published on Saturday by the constitutional court confirm that the coalition of President Boni Yayi won most of the legislative seats from last week's election. While the president has said he needs this majority to fight corruption, some analysts say this victory is still not enough to change political life in this small West African country. Phuong Tran has more from VOA's West African bureau in Dakar.

Benin analyst and professor at the American-based Howard University, Sulayman Nyang, says overhauling politics in Benin, which has had only two presidents in the past 30 years, will take Mr. Yayi more than just a legislative majority.

"In order for him to really carry out an anti-corruption campaign, he has to make it a national issue, not a partisan issue. There are some of the opposition people who are equally committed to anti-corruption practices," said Nyang.

Major opposition parties include the Alliance for Dynamism and Democracy of former president Necephore Soglo, which came in second with 20 seats, and the Democratic Renewal Party, which was third with 10 seats.

Professor Nyang says Mr. Yayi does not yet have the experience to know which political actors to trust.

A former regional development banker, Mr. Yayi was a political newcomer who surprised many last March by easily defeating long-time politicians.

"I think his [President Yayi's] success is going to depend heavily on how he takes full advantage of the advice of people who are not only familiar with the social geography of Benin, but people who also are very aware of some of the individual weaknesses of political aspirants," added Sulayman Nyang.

Nyang says Mr. Yayi needs to carefully identify his allies in the fight against corruption.

"He might very well have some [infiltrators] in his own party who are committed to corruption," he said.

Mr. Yayi's coalition of about 20 political parties, called Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin, won 35 of 83 legislative seats.

Opposition parties have already started contesting the results in the constitutional court, because of what they say are problems leading up to and on voting day, including missing ballots. They have 10 more days to dispute the results.

The international watchdog group Transparency International ranked Benin 121 out of 163 countries last year based on levels of perceived corruption, where a rank of 163 is considered the most corrupt.

XS
SM
MD
LG