The Constitutional Court of Benin on Monday confirmed provisional election results in the country's March presidential election, securing the reelection of President Thomas Boni Yayi [official websites, in French]. Yayi secured 53 percent of the vote, allowing him to avoid a runoff [L'araignee report, in French] in his campaign for another five-year term in office. His closest competitors, Me Adrien Houngbedji and Abdoulaye Bio Tchane secured only 35 and 6.4 percent of the vote, respectively. Despite being judged as a free and fair election by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), both Houngbedji and Tchane alleged fraud and irregularities in the vote [Bloomberg report]. The court's action comes after partial results were released [AFP report] Friday by the National Autonomous Electoral Commission (CENA), indicating the same result. Earlier this month, Constitutional Court approved a second postponement [JURIST report] of presidential elections following complaints that over one million people were not registered to vote. The court delayed the date of the presidential election from March 6 to March 13, holding that the electoral commission would not otherwise have enough time to implement measures to ensure a credible election.
Benin's presidential election was initially scheduled for February 27. The Beninese Constitution [text] requires that the first round of presidential voting be held 30 days prior to the end of the current president's term, which is on April 6. The National Assembly [official website, in French], Benin's parliamentary body, approved a law that overruled the constitutional provision and would allow the election postponement. Benin, a small country bordering Nigeria, is considered to be one of the most stable democracies in the region [BBC backgrounder], with a vibrant party system and civil society. However, the country remains underdeveloped and plagued by corruption.