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Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
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Structure of parliament Unicameral
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1963 - 1964
1981 - 1990
1992 -
President Adrien Houngbédji (M) 
Notes Elected on 20 May 2015.
Secretary General Thomas Mahougnon Dassi (M) 
Notes Appointed on 24 Nov. 2016.
Members (statutory / current number) 83 / 83

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Women (current number) 6 (7.23%)
Mode of designation directly elected 83
Term 4 years
Last renewal dates 26 April 2015
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Address Assemblée nationale du Bénin
01 B.P. 371
République du Bénin
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (229) 20 21 35 38
20 21 22 19
20 21 36 44
20 21 36 45
Fax (229) 20 21 51 61
E-mail assnabenin@yahoo.fr


Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Electoral law 15 January 1995
Mode of designation directly elected 83
Constituencies 24 multi-member constituencies corresponding to the country's departments.
Voting system Proportional: List system of proportional representation.
Each party list bears as many names of candidates as seats to be filled. Seats are allotted to the different lists on the basis of the so-called departmental (simple) quotient. Following this computation, remaining seats are allocated under the rule of the greatest remainder.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled by substitutes elected at the same time as titular members.
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18 years
- Beninese citizenship
- full possession of civil and political rights
- disqualifications: conviction for crime, imprisonment of at least three months for certain offences, persons in contempt of court, undischarged bankruptcy
Eligibility Qualified electors
- age: 25 years
- Beninese citizenship by birth (or naturalized citizens if residence in the country for at least 10 years)
- residence in the country for at least one year
- ineligibility: electoral fraud, guardianship
Incompatibilities - non-elective public office
- military functions
- service to foreign States or international organizations
- members of the Government
- executives or representatives of businesses subsidized by public funds
Candidacy requirements - submission of party or coalition lists at least 30 days prior to polling
- monetary deposit, reimbursed to lists in proportion to their winnings


Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 26 April 2015
Timing and scope of renewal The Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin coalition (FCBE), supporting President Thomas Boni Yayi, remained the largest party with 33 seats, down from 41. Its ally, the Union for Benin (UB), retained its two seats, thereby giving the pro-presidential camp 35 seats in the 83-member National Assembly.

A proposal to amend the constitution - drafts of which had twice been rejected by the National Assembly - dominated the election campaign, fuelled by speculation that the intention was to lift the two-term limit so President Yayi could seek a third consecutive term in 2016.

The opposition forces organized several rallies in protest, pledging to stop constitutional amendments so as to "save democracy". The FCBE, Sun Alliance and Alliance for a Triumphant Benin (ABT) are reportedly supportive of the amendments. Several key figures left the FCBE prior to the 2015 elections, including the outgoing Speaker Mathurin Nago, who formed the United Democratic Forces (FDU) in March in protest against possible constitutional amendments.

The Build the Nation Union (UN, the opposition coalition in 2011, see note 1) saw an internal split prior to the 2015 elections and its members fielded candidates separately. Nevertheless, the opposition parties submitted Mr. Adrien Houngbédji, President of the Party for Democratic Renewal (PRD), as their joint candidate for Speaker. On 20 May, he was elected with 42 votes (see note 2), defeating the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Komi Koutché, who was endorsed by the FCBE.

Note 1:
The major parties in the coalition in 2011 were the UN, the Rebirth of Benin (RB) and the PRD. The RB, led by the Mayor of Cotonou Nicephore Soglo, allied with the government for a short period after the 2011 elections. In 2015, it formed a coalition with the Patriotic Revival Party (RP).

Note 2:
Prior to the elections, the leaders of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (AND), the Sun Alliance, the FDU "Reso Atao" party and the Rebirth of Benin (RB) announced that they would support the candidacy of Mr. Houngbédji for the Speaker.
Date of previous elections: 30 April 2011

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 15 May 2015

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: April 2019

Number of seats at stake: 83 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 3,320 (2,990 men, 330 women)*
*Each list needs to comprise the equal number as the seats to be filled and one substitute member for each candidate.

Percentage of women candidates: 9.9%

Number of parties contesting the election: 20

Number of parties winning seats: 11

Alternation of power: N/A (presidential system)

Number of parties in government: 2

Names of parties in government: Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin coalition (FCBE) and the Party for Democratic Renewal (PRD)*
*The new Cabinet, formed in June 2015, comprises several ministers who were elected on an FCBE ticket and one former PRD member who was not elected to the National Assembly.
A parliamentary group, Republic and Unity (République et Unité), supports President Thomas Boni Yayi, whose term is due to end in April 2016. The group comprises all members of the FCBE, the Union for Benin (UB) and the Scout Alliance (Alliance Éclaireur) as well as three members of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (AND). As a result, Republic and Unity controls 40 out of the 83 seats in the National Assembly.

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 16 May 2015

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Adrien Houngbédji (Party for Democratic Renewal, PRD)
Voter turnout
Round no 126 April 2015
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
2'945'020 (65.88%)

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE)
Build the Nation Union (UN)
Party for Democratic Renewal (PRD)
Rebirth of Benin - Patriotic Revival Party (RB-RP)
National Alliance for Democracy and Development (AND)
Sun Alliance
United Democratic Forces (FDU)
Union for Benin (UB)
Alliance for a Triumphant Benin (ABT)
Scout Alliance (Alliance « Éclaireur »)
"Reso Atao" party
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) 33
Build the Nation Union (UN) 13
Party for Democratic Renewal (PRD) 10
Rebirth of Benin - Patriotic Revival Party (RB-RP) 7
National Alliance for Democracy and Development (AND) 5
Sun Alliance 4
United Democratic Forces (FDU) 4
Union for Benin (UB) 2
Alliance for a Triumphant Benin (ABT) 2
Scout Alliance (Alliance « Éclaireur ») 2
"Reso Atao" party 1
Distribution of seats according to sex


Percent of women


Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Source: http://www.cour-constitutionnelle-benin.org/dminutes/cmunike6.pdf


Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Title President of the National Assembly
Term - duration: 4 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, President's responsibility called into question, death, dissolution of the National Assembly
Appointment - elected by all Members of the National Assembly at the beginning of the legislature
- after Members' mandates have been validated and before Members are sworn in
Eligibility - any Member may be a candidate but formal notification of candidature is required
- the deadline for such notification is one hour before voting.
Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot for a single candidate; several rounds
- an absolute majority is required in the first and second rounds, but only a simple majority in the third
- in the event of successive votes, new candidates are admitted; some candidatures must be withdrawn depending on the results obtained during the previous vote
Procedures / results - the oldest Member presides over the Assembly during the voting
- the oldest and the youngest Members, each assisted by two tellers, supervise the voting
- the oldest Member announces the results without delay
- the election must be formally confirmed by the Constitutional Court
- the results may be challenged before the Constitutional Court
Status - ranks second in the hierarchy of the State
- represents the Assembly with the authorities
- represents the Assembly in international bodies
- presides over the Conference of Presidents
- in the absence of the President of Parliament, the First Vice-President can assume his/her role and functions
Board - the Board is regulated by the Standing Orders
- consists of the President, two Vice-Presidents, two Questors and two Secretaries
- meets once weekly or when convened by the President
Material facilities - allowance
+ expense allowance
- official residence
- official car
- secretariat
- domestic staff
- bodyguards
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda
- organizes the debates and sets speaking time
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments
- refers texts to a committee for study
- examines the admissibility of requests for setting up committees and/or committees of enquiry, proposes or decides on the setting-up of such committees
Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings
- ensures respect for the provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- checks the quorum
- authenticates the texts adopted and the records of debates
- interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Assembly, based on precedents if necessary
- has discretionary power to give the floor outside the agenda and thus organizes impromptu debates
Special powers - is responsible for establishing the Assembly's budget, assisted by the Board
- recruits, assigns and promotes staff, assisted by the Board
- appoints the Clerk
- organizes the services of the Assembly
- plays a specific role in the conduct of foreign affairs or defence matters
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call in the police in the event of disturbance in the Assembly
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes the floor in legislative debates
- provides guidelines for the interpretation or completion of the text under discussion
- takes part in voting
- proposes bills or amendments
- intervenes in the parliamentary oversight procedure
- is consulted by the Head of State with regard to the introduction of emergency powers


Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Nature of the mandate · Free representation (Art. 80 of the Constitution of 11.12.1990)
Start of the mandate · When the mandates are validated
Validation of mandates · Validation by the Constitutional Court (Art. 81 (2) of the Constitution)
· Procedure: the Constitutional Court validates the mandates after the results have been declared by the Independent National Electoral Committee (CENA). Challenges are submitted to the Constitutional Court. The decision can, on the one hand, lead to the amendment of the proclamation made by the CENA and the proclamation of the candidate who was regularly elected or the invalidation of a contested election or, on the other hand, confirm the regularity of the elections (see also Art. 117 of the Constitution).
End of the mandate · On the day when the legal term of the House ends (the Constitution does not provide for early dissolution)
Can MPs resign? Yes · Yes, of their own free will (Art. 12 (1) of the Standing Orders)
· At the beginning of the legislature, some conditions must be fulfilled (Art. 12 (2) of the Standing Orders).
· Procedure (Art. 12 (3) of the Standing Orders): resignations must be addressed to the President. At the following plenary sitting at the latest, he informs the MPs and notifies the Government accordingly.
· Authority competent to accept the resignation: the President of the National Assembly
Can MPs lose their mandate ? Yes (a) Definitive exclusion from Parliament: definitive exclusion is possible by decision of the National Assembly taken by a two-thirds majority when the MP has been convicted of a crime.
Rank in hierarchy · Within Parliament: according to responsibilities within the National Assembly:
1. The President of the National Assembly
2. The First Vice-President
3. The Second Vice-President
4. The First Questor
5. The Second Questor
6. The First Parliamentary Secretary
7. The Second Parliamentary Secretary
8. The Presidents of standing committees
9. The leaders of parliamentary groups
10. The Vice-Presidents and other officers of standing committees in the internal order of precedence of committees
11. The Vice-Presidents and other officers of parliamentary groups in the internal order of precedence of the group
12. Deputies
· Outside Parliament: the official order of precedence ranks the President of the National Assembly in the 2nd position after the President of the Republic, the Vice-Presidents in the 7th position and deputies in the 13th position (Decree 92-150 of 12.06.1992).
Indemnities, facilities and services · Diplomatic passport
· Basic salary: CFA F 193,291/ month
+ Additional allowance: CFA F 373,003 / month
+ Family allowances
· No exemption from tax (CFA F 47,812 per month withheld from the basic salary for ordinary deputies)
· Pension scheme: 6% of the gross salary of all civil servants is paid into the National Pension Fund.
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat: CFA F 45,000/per month
(b) Official housing: CFA F 100,000/per month
(c) Postal and telephone services: CFA F 5,000/per month (approx)
Obligation to declare personal assets No
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability · The concept exists (Art. 90 (1) of the Constitution, taken up in Art. 69 (1) of the Standing Orders).
· Parliamentary non-accountability applies to words spoken and written by MPs both within and outside Parliament, insofar as the said words have a direct bearing on the action exercised by MPs within Parliament.
· Derogations: call to violence in public sittings, contempt of the President of the Republic, the National Assembly or its President, insults, provocations or threats towards members of the Government and institutions foreseen in the Constitution, as well as to-wards the other deputies (Art. 61.6 and 63.1 of the Standing Orders; see Discipline)
· Non-accountability takes effect on the day when the mandate begins and offers, after the expiry of the mandate protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability · The concept exists (Art. 90 (2 and 3) of the Constitution, taken up in Art. 69.2 and 69.3 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly).
· It applies only to criminal proceedings, covers all offences and protects MPs from arrest and from being held in preventive custody, from the opening of judicial proceedings against them and from their homes being searched.
· Derogations:
- When Parliament is in session, prosecution or arrests in criminal or correctional matters are possible in flagrante delicto cases (Art. 90 (3) of the Constitution, taken up in Art. 69.2 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly).
- When Parliament is not in session, arrest is possible in cases involving flagrante delicto, authorised prosecution or final sentencing (Art. 90 (2) of the Constitution, taken up in Art. 69.3 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly).
· Parliamentary inviolability does not prevent MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal.
· Protection is provided from the start to the end of the mandate and also covers judicial proceedings instituted against MPs before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted in certain cases (Art. 70 of the Standing Orders). The lifting of immunity applies only to the infractions for which it has been requested:
- Competent authority: the National Assembly
- Procedure (Art. 71 of the Standing Orders): in this case, the MPs concerned or the colleagues they have delegated to represent them are heard by the Special Committee. They do not have means of appeal.
· Parliament cannot subject the prosecution and/or detention to certain conditions.
· Parliament can suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members (Art. 90 (4) of the Constitution, taken up in Art. 69.4 of the Standing Orders):
- Competent authority: the National Assembly
- Procedure: the decision is taken by a two-thirds majority. The procedure is the same as the one applied for the lifting of immunity.
· In the event of preventive custody or imprisonment, the MPs concerned cannot be authorised to attend sittings of Parliament.
Training · When the National Assembly obtains technical and financial support from international foundations and organisations, it organises seminars and other training workshops.
· The Department of Legislative Services is planning to publish a handbook for deputies and a brochure on legislative procedure.
Participation in the work of the Parliament · It is compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings and committee meetings.
· Penalties foreseen in case of failure to fulfil this obligation:
- Call to order for three consecutive absences without valid justification
- Simple censure, after a call to order, when absences during a Committee's work total one-third of the meetings during a given session
- One year's suspension and three months' forfeiture of one-third of the basic salary for in case of a repeated offence and when an MP's absences total one-third of the meetings during a given session

Discipline · The rules governing discipline within Parliament are contained in title II, chapter X, section 1 of the Standing Orders (Art. 60 to 68).
· Disciplinary measures foreseen (Art. 60 of the Standing Orders):
- Call to order (Art. 61.1 to 61.4 of the Standing Orders)
- Call to order with entry in the minutes, and one month's forfeiture of one-fourth of the basic salary (Art. 61.5 to 61.7 of the Standing Orders)
- Simple censure with one month's forfeiture of one-half of the basic salary or three months' forfeiture of one-third of the salary (Art. 62 and 64 to 65 of the Standing Orders)
- Censure with temporary exclusion and two months' forfeiture of one-half of the basic salary (Art. 63 to 65 of the Standing Orders)
· Specific cases:
- Assault (Art. 66 of the Standing Orders): call to order; censure with temporary exclusion and six months' forfeiture of one-half of the basic salary
- Criminal acts (Art. 67 of the Standing Orders): notification of the National Assembly; notification of the judicial authorities
- Abuse of office (Art. 68 of the Standing Orders): all possible penalties foreseen
- Insults, provocations, threats and contempt (Art. 61.6 and 63.1 of the Standing Orders): call to order or censure with temporary exclusion
· Competent body to judge such cases:
- Call to order: the President
- Censure: the National Assembly
- Assault: the President; the National Assembly
- Criminal acts: the President; the Board
- Abuse of office : depending on penalty
- Insults, provocations, threats and contempt: the President or the National Assembly
· Procedure:
- Censure (Art. 64 of the Standing Orders): the MPs concerned or their colleague whom they have delegated to represent them have the right to be heard.
- Specific cases
Code (rules) of conduct · This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system but there are some relevant provisions, in particular Art. 68 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly (see Discipline).
Relations between MPs and pressure group · Prohibitions protecting the free mandate (Art. 28 of the Standing Orders)

This page was last updated on 19 January 2017
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