Beninese presidential election, 2006

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Members of the National Autonomous Electoral Commission (CENA) are counting the votes after the second round on 19 March 2006
Civil Society members offer their own transportation means to carry and safeguard the transparent ballot boxes from the polling stations to the electoral commission offices.

Presidential elections were held in Benin on 5 March 2006. Long-time president Mathieu Kérékou was barred from running again by a two-term limit and an age limit of 70 years for candidates; in July 2005 he signalled that he would not seek to change the constitution, as has been done in some other African countries, so that he could run again. Kérékou's long-time rival Nicéphore Soglo was also barred from standing due to his age.[1] With both of the men who had been the country's leading political figures for many years unable to contest the election, it had a level of openness and unpredictability that is uncommon to African presidential elections. Since no candidate won a majority, a second round was held between the two leading candidates on 19 March; Yayi Boni won the election and took office in April.


A total of 33 candidate applications were registered with the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA). In a ruling issued on 30 January 2006, the Constitutional Court accepted 26 candidacies, as the candidacies of Daniel Shalom, Vincent Emmanuel Ahounou, and Adébayo Ananie were rejected because they were deemed medically unfit for the presidency, while the candidacies of Lary Egoundoukpè and Alidou Tamama were rejected because they had not paid the deposit of five million CFA francs required of candidates. Another two candidates, Edgar Alias and Yaro Sourakatou, withdrew in favor of Boni prior to the ruling. The approved candidates included three serving members of Kérékou's government: Zul Kifl Salami, Antoine Dayori, and Kamarou Fassassi. Additionally, the Constitutional Court approved the candidacies of two heads of major institutions: those of Antoine Idji Kolawolé, the President of the National Assembly, and Raphiou Toukourou, the President of the Economic and Social Council.[2]


In the first round, held on 5 March, Boni, former chairman of the West African Development Bank, placed first with around 35% of the vote, and former President of the National Assembly Adrien Houngbédji of the Democratic Renewal Party placed second with around 24% of the vote. In third place was the Social Democratic Party's candidate Bruno Amoussou, a former speaker of parliament and planning minister who obtained around 16% of the vote, and in fourth place was Benin Renaissance candidate Lehady Soglo, son of former president Nicéphore Soglo, with around 8% of the vote. Boni was an independent candidate, and this was his first election; Houngbédji and Amoussou had both run for president three previous times.[3][4]

Shortly after results were announced in mid-March, the government set the date for the second round between Boni and Houngbédji for 19 March. The country's election commission asked for more time, but this was refused. Boni was backed for the second round by both Amoussou and Soglo.[5] He won the second round with almost 75% of the vote[3] and was sworn in on 6 April.[6]

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Yayi Boni Independent 1,074,308 35.78 1,979,305 74.60
Adrien Houngbédji Democratic Renewal Party 727,239 24.22 673,937 25.40
Bruno Amoussou Social Democratic Party 489,122 16.29
Léhadi Soglo Benin Rebirth Party 253,478 8.44
Antoine Kolawolé Idji African Movement for Development and Progress 97,595 3.25
Lazare Sèhouéto Movement for the People's Alternative 61,195 2.04
Sévérin Adjovi Liberal Democrats' Rally for National Reconstruction – Vivoten 53,304 1.78
Antoine Dayori Hope Force 37,436 1.25
Kamarou Fassassi Awakening Party of Democrats of the New Generation 29,494 0.98
Janvier Yahouédéhou Independent 23,054 0.77
Luc Gnacadja Envol Movement 20,269 0.68
Daniel Tawéma Action Front for Renewal and Development 18,125 0.60
Ibrahima Idrissou Rally for National Unity and Democracy 18,106 0.60
Richard Sènou Independent 15,672 0.52
Soulé Dankoro Democratic Party 9,929 0.33
Marie-Elise Gbèdo Independent 9,815 0.33
Célestine Zanou Independent 9,474 0.32
Lionel Agbo African Congress of Democrats 9,026 0.30
Zul Kifl Salami Independent 8,538 0.28
Richard Adjaho Independent 7,448 0.25
Gatien Houngbédji Democratic Union for Economic and Social Development 6,544 0.22
Adolphe Djimon Hodonou Independent 6,512 0.22
Galiou Soglo Independent 5,243 0.17
Léandre Djagoué Rally of Liberal Democrats – Hêviosso 4,665 0.15
Marcel Gbaguidi Independent 3,479 0.12
Raphiou Toukourou Independent 3,419 0.11
Invalid/blank votes 186,777 69,564
Total 3,189,266 100 2,722,806 100
Registered voters/turnout 3,917,865 81.7 3,919,550 69.5
Source: African Elections Database


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