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Benin Heading for Presidential Run-Off

  • VOA News

An electoral officer holds up a ballot paper during the count of votes after polling stations closed for the presidential election in Cotonou, Benin, March 6, 2016.

An electoral officer holds up a ballot paper during the count of votes after polling stations closed for the presidential election in Cotonou, Benin, March 6, 2016.

Benin appears headed for a run-off presidential election between the prime minister and a prominent businessman.

Preliminary results from Sunday's poll show Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou leading the field with 28 percent of the vote, followed by cotton magnate Patrice Talon with around 25 percent.

Another businessman, Sebastien Ajavon, ran a close third with 23 percent.

The West African country's electoral commission Tuesday announced the results which still have to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court.

Current President Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down after serving the maximum two five-year terms allowed by Benin's constitution.

His decision bucks a trend by several African presidents who have tried to change constitutions to stay in power.

Zinsou is a former banker who spent much of his career in Europe and was named prime minister last year.

Talon was once an ally of Boni Yayi but fled the country for several years after being accused of plotting to poison the president. He was pardoned and returned last year.

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