Friday, April 06, 2007

Periscoping Benin (3): Legislative Elections

The 5th in the series of legislative elections since Benin adopted a Democratic-based Constitution in 1990 was held last Saturday. The results, as demanded by the Constitution, were supposed to be announced within 48 hours after the voting exercise. But the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA) needed some extension of time to enable her tidy up some knotty issues.
With the results now officially announced, four parties have emerged tops with the Force Cauris Pour un Benin Emergent (FCBE) of President Boni Yayi leading with 33 or 633.241 votes out of the total 83 seats. Others are Alliance pour une Dynamique Democratique (ADD) with 21 seats or 476.338 votes; Parti du Renouveau Democratique (PRD) 10 seats or 276.348 votes; and Union Pour la Releve (UPR) with 03 seats or 127.834 votes.
A total of 3.891.536 voters were registered for the election, out of which only 2.812.048 was accredited representing 93.53% of total votes cast.
The voting pattern is truly a test of the support the regime of President Boni Yayi is receiving from the populace. It will be recalled that he had emerged into the political arena as an independent. Soon after it became clear that he was the most popular choice, some group of political parties then known as the ‘Wolougede Alliance’, formed a coalition to support him. This is the Alliance that has metamorphosed into FCBE. The ADD party is made up of Antoin Kolawole Idji the outgoing President of the National Assembly in alliance with former President Nicephore Soglo and Bruno Amousou, who both, contested the presidential elections of last year. The PRD belongs to Adrien Houngbedji who was one time National Assembly president, who also was unsuccessful during the last year’s presidential elections. The URP is a popular party embraced by people of the North. It belongs to Issa Salifou, a frontline businessman with substantial investment in the Media. He is said to have opted to lend his votes to the support of President Boni Yayi, who by the way, is from the north as well. This does not give the FCBE party a comfortable majority in the House, but it is enough to cushion the ground for a smooth lobbying and to instil in the President some sense of the need to be cautious in his conduct of the affairs of governance.

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