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Benin Prime Minister Concedes Defeat in Presidential Runoff

Benin Presidential candidate Lionel Zinsou speaks to journalists after voting during presidential elections in Cotonou, Benin, March 20, 2016.

Benin's prime minister has phoned businessman Patrice Talon to concede defeat and congratulate him on his victory in the West African country's presidential runoff.

Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou said late Sunday in a statement that provisional results show a clear victory for Talon.

Zinsou, a French-born investment banker named prime minister last year, said that he called Talon, known locally as "the king of cotton,'' to say he would help with the transition.

Benin's electoral commission will announce official provisional results in the coming days before the Constitutional Court ratifies them.

Talon trailed Zinsou after the first round of votes March 6. He has denied plotting to poison President Thomas Boni Yayi and authorities permitted his return from France last October. Boni Yayi is stepping down after two terms.