Nicéphore Soglo

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Nicéphore Soglo.

Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo (born November 29, 1934) is a Beninois politician who was Prime Minister of Benin from 1990 to 1991 and President from 1991 to 1996. He has been the Mayor of Cotonou since 2003. Soglo is married to Rosine Vieyra Soglo, the Beninois former First Lady and politician.[1]

Biography[edit]

Soglo was born in Togo. After receiving degrees in law and economics from the University of Paris, Soglo returned to Benin (then called Dahomey) and was the inspector of finance (1965–1967) before his cousin, Colonel Christophe Soglo, overthrew President Sourou-Migan Apithy and appointed his relative minister of finance and economic affairs. Following the 1972 coup that brought Mathieu Kérékou to power, he left the country and held positions at international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.[2]

In the late 1980s, faced with growing dissatisfaction over a stagnant economy, the Kérékou government agreed to convene a national conference that would lead the country towards multiparty democracy. The conference designated Nicéphore Soglo interim Prime Minister, and he took office on March 12, 1990. The conference produced a constitution that was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum held on 2 December 1990.

In the country's first multiparty presidential election, Soglo took first place in the first round, held on March 10 1991, with 36.31% of the vote. A run-off against Kérékou followed on 24 March in which Soglo won a strong majority, receiving 67.73% of the vote.[3] He took office on April 4, 1991.

In the following year, the Renaissance Party of Benin (known by the acronym PRB or RB) was founded by Rosine Soglo; her husband became leader of the party in 1994.

In 1993, President Soglo headed the Benin delegation which participated in the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development.[4]

During his presidency, Soglo took efforts to refurbish Benin's devastated economy. These economic measures caused civil unrest and undermined his popularity. Despite these problems, his government was praised for its adherence to democratic principles and respect for human rights.

In the March 1996 presidential election, Soglo again took first place in the first round, but in the second round he was defeated by Mathieu Kérékou, receiving 47.51% of the vote.[3] Soglo alleged election fraud, but this was rejected by the Constitutional Court.[5]

In a bid to regain the presidency in the March 2001 election, he placed second behind Mathieu Kérékou, winning 27.12% of the vote. Although Soglo qualified to participate in a run-off against Kérékou, he withdrew alleging irregularities, which resulted in a Kérékou victory.[3] Soglo could not run again in the March 2006 presidential election due to the age limit of 70 years; his son Lehady Soglo ran as the candidate of the Renaissance Party instead,[6] placing fourth with 8.44% of the vote.[3] Another son, Ganiou, also ran in the election,[7] but he fared poorly, receiving only about 0.17% of the vote.[3]

Nicéphore Soglo and the RB were victorious in the December 2002–January 2003 municipal election in Cotonou, Benin's largest city.[8] In the 12th arrondissement, Soglo defeated pro-government Movement candidate Sévérin Adjovi.[8][9] Soglo was elected as Mayor by the city's council on February 13, 2003, receiving the support of 41 of the 45 councillors,[10] and he was sworn in on the same day.[11] He said that he would focus on reducing pollution and improving waste management and drainage.[10]

While hospitalized at the American Hospital of Paris, located in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Soglo was falsely reported to have died in February 2005.[12] Along with former United States President Jimmy Carter, Soglo headed the multinational delegation of the National Democratic Institute and the Carter Center for the October 2005 Liberian election.[13]

Soglo ran for re-election as a municipal councillor in the April 2008 local election in Cotonou; he was also the RB candidate for Mayor, vowing to continue to modernize the city and create a system of public transportation. He faced Jérôme Dandjinou of the governing Cauris Forces for an Emerging Benin.[14] Following the local election, the municipal councillors re-elected Soglo as Mayor on June 3, 2008. There were 48 votes in favor of Soglo and one abstention.[15]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Rosine Soglo's removal from party makes headlines". PanaPress. 2001-09-07. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  2. ^ "Nicéphore Soglo". MSN Encarta. Microsoft Corporation. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Elections in Benin, African Elections Database.
  4. ^ Japan, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MOFA): 28 African nations
  5. ^ Benin, Year in Review: 1996, Britannica.com.
  6. ^ "Underfinanced Benin election promises change", afrol News, March 3, 2006.
  7. ^ Joe Bavier, "Son of Benin's Ex-President Vies for Presidency", VOA News, March 1, 2006.
  8. ^ a b "Opposition set to win in major Beninese cities", afrol News, January 12, 2003.
  9. ^ "I- SITUATION POLITIQUE INTERIEURE", ambafrance-bj.org (French).
  10. ^ a b "Ex-president elected mayor of Cotonou", IRIN, February 17, 2003.
  11. ^ "Programme summary of Radio Benin news 1930 gmt 13 Feb 03", Radio Benin (nl.newsbank.com), February 14, 2003.
  12. ^ "Former President of Benin Soglo still alive; death announcement was "a mistake"", Radio France Internationale (nl.newsbank.com), February 17, 2005.
  13. ^ "Former US President Carter leads foreign observer team to monitor Liberia poll", The Analyst, Liberia (nl.newsbank.com), October 7, 2005.
  14. ^ "Cotonou courtisée par les candidats aux élections locales du Bénin", African Press Agency, April 18, 2008.
  15. ^ "Former Beninese president re-elected Cotonou Mayor", African Press Agency, June 4, 2008.
Political offices
Preceded by
Mathieu Kérékou
President of Benin
1991 – 1996
Succeeded by
Mathieu Kérékou
Preceded by
Abdou Diouf
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States
1993 – 1994
Succeeded by
Jerry Rawlings