Benin voters choose successor to President Boni Yayi
Voters in Benin went to the polls to choose their next leader in an election that further solidifies the country's credentials as a vibrant and stable democracy. The choice was between 33 candidates vying to succeed President Boni Yayi, who is stepping down after serving the maximum two terms in office. "With my departure our democracy will take one further step forward," President Yayi said as he cast his ballot in the 6 March election. "I leave the republic with national unity." According to provisional results announced by the electoral commission, Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, candidate of the ruling party, is credited with 28.44% of votes, ahead of Patrice Talon (24.80%) and Sébastien Ajavon (23.03 %). "I am proud of the conditions in which the campaign took place," Zinsou told reporters at his polling station in Cotonou. "It was a campaign without violence and an exercise in democracy." Both ECOWAS and UEMOA deployed election observation missions to monitor the vote, which took place in an atmosphere of calm. Initially scheduled for 28 February, the election was postponed by one week due to delays in the production and distribution of voter cards. On the day of the vote, the electoral commission reported minor delays at some polling stations but said conditions were generally good. A runoff is scheduled for 20 March 2016.