Benin. A disputed parliamentary election was held on April 28. Only two parties close to President Patrice Talon were allowed to stand as a result of the strict conditions of the electoral law. The Progressive Union (UP) received 47 seats, the Republican Bloc (BR) remaining 36 of the Parliament’s 83 seats. Only about 27% of 4.9 million registered voters voted. The internet was shut down on Election Day.
Two former presidents, Nicéphore Soglo and Boni Yayi, called for a boycott on April 19. The Election Commission forbade their parties to stand.
Protests occurred before and after the election. Security forces hit hard. According to the opposition, at least seven people were killed in various clashes. Yayi was held under house arrest from early May until June 22, but was then allowed to travel abroad for care. Churches and other NGOs tried to mediate during the year without much success and the opposition maintained that it did not recognize Parliament.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of BEN in general and in geography as Benin in particular.
Talon invited a national dialogue in October to dampen tensions, but several opposition parties were refused to participate and therefore held their own counter-conference.
Nigeria’s decision in August to close the border with Benin and other neighboring countries to combat extensive informal border trade and smuggling was another setback for Talon’s government. The World Bank estimates that one fifth of GDP comes from informal border trade, including rice, which Benin has imported from Asia and sold on to Nigeria.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Benin in 2019 was 11,801,040, ranking number 77 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.750% yearly, and the population density was 104.6573 people per km2.