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Benin Swears In New President

Patrice Talon (L) is handed a national flag during his swearing in as president of Benin at Charles de Gaulle Stadium in the capital Porto-Novo, April 6, 2016.

Patrice Talon was sworn in as Benin’s new president Wednesday, completing another peaceful transfer of power in the West African country.

Talon told the crowd of about 20,000 in the capital, Porto-Novo, that he will fight corruption and terrorism and foster economic development.

He also renewed a promise to step down after only one term. Although Benin allows its leader to serve two terms, Talon voiced concern that 10 years in office may leave leaders complacent, and said he will work to limit future presidents to one term as well.

Benin is an oasis of stability and democracy in the troubled West African region, where most of its neighbors have struggled with coups, political unrest and the Boko Haram insurgency in recent years.

Talon says he is committed to upholding Benin's reputation while strengthening the economy and keeping terrorism at bay.

“I will make diplomacy an instrument of cooperation for development," he said.
Benin is already a member of a multinational task force committed to fighting Boko Haram.

Talon, 57, was educated in Senegal and France and made a fortune in cotton before entering politics.

Talon supported former president Boni Yayi until being accused of a plot to poison the leader. He was later pardoned and returned from exile in October.

Talon assumes the presidency after defeating former prime minister Lionel Zinsou, the preferred candidate of the former president, in a run-off election last month.