Benin profile

Election poster of Thomas Boni Yayi Mr Boni Yayi is in his second term as president

President: Thomas Boni Yayi

Thomas Boni Yayi won presidential elections in March 2006, and again in 2011. He won 75% of the votes in the 2006 polls, but managed only 53% in the 2011 elections. These later polls were postponed twice and their results were disputed by the main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji.

Mr Yayi a former head of the Togo-based West African Development Bank, lost considerable support during an economic downturn and a pyramid investment scheme scandal in 2010. This scandal involved several senior officials, and more than 100,000 people are reported to have lost their money.

Recent years have seen two unverified allegations of plots against the president. In 2012 Mr Yayi said he had survived an attempted poisoning, and police claimed they had foiled a coup attempt against him in March 2013.

The Beninese authorities have linked both alleged plots to a businessman with ties to the cotton industry, Patrice Talon, who was once a close associate of Mr Yayi.

In 2013, a French court rejected a Beninese request for Mr Talon's extradition.

Born in 1952 into a Muslim family in the north, Mr Yayi later became an evangelical Christian.

His predecessor, former army major Mathieu Kerekou, had led Benin for all but five years after seizing power in 1972. He earned the country the label of "Africa's Cuba" before dropping Marxism in 1990. He was barred by a constitutional age limit from running in 2006.

Benin's president heads the government, the state and the military, and appoints the cabinet.

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain


  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'


  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?


  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SailingGame on

    BBC Capital discovers why certain sports seem to have a special appeal for those with deep pockets

Programmes

  • European Union's anti-terrorism chief Gilles de KerchoveHARDtalk Watch

    Anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove on the threat from returning Islamic State fighters

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.