HOME -> PARLINE -> BENIN (Assemblée nationale)
Print this pagePrint this page
PARLINE database new searchNew search
Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Last elections module

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 30 April 2011
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the member's term of office.
Parliamentary elections, initially called for 17 April 2011, were postponed to 30 April due to delays in the presidential elections and the registration of parliamentary candidates.

In the previous elections held in March 2007, the Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) coalition, supported by President Thomas Boni Yayi, failed to win a parliamentary majority, taking 35 of the 87 seats at stake. Opposition forces took a total of 48 seats. They included the Alliance for Democratic Momentum (ADD) led by former president Nicéphore Soglo, which took 20 seats; and the Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) of a former presidential candidate, Mr. Adrien Houngbedji, with 10 seats. In May, Mr. Mathurin Nago (FCBE) was elected as the new Speaker.

In August 2010, the President came under severe criticism over his alleged assistance to the firm accused of being behind a Ponzi Scheme financial fiasco. Some 50 parliamentarians signed a letter requesting President Yayi to stand trial for treason and perjury, allegations which the President dismissed.

Later the same month, the National Assembly adopted a new law on the election of members of the National Assembly. It raised the statutory number of members from 83 to 99 and set a 20 per-cent quota for women in all party lists for parliamentary elections. However, in September, the Constitutional Court nullified both provisions. It stated that increasing the statutory number of members would be allowable only if there were sufficient financial resources and that the quota for women candidates violated the principle of gender equality guaranteed by the Constitution. The Court stated that such a quota could be justified only if it applied to both genders or if a higher percentage was applied (since women account for 52% of Benin's population). Consequently, the 2011 elections were held for 83 seats in the National Assembly without any women's quota for party lists.

The Election Commission subsequently set presidential elections for 27 February 2011 and parliamentary polls for 17 April.

Prior to the 2011 elections, a new computerized voter registration system was introduced. Opposition parties asked their supporters not to register in the system in an attempt to block its functioning. As a result, about 1 million voters, mainly opposition supporters, were not registered. In order to allow those voters to register, the presidential polls were postponed first to 7 and then to 13 March.

President Yayi was re-elected with 53 per cent of the votes in elections marred by organizational problems. His main rival, Mr. Houngbedji - who garnered 36 per cent of the vote - contested the results, alleging widespread fraud. On 20 March, the Constitutional Court validated the presidential election results.

Shortly before the beginning of the official parliamentary campaign, the Constitutional Court invalidated the candidature of some opposition candidates. The decision was challenged by the opposition parties. In order to resolve the disputes before the election campaign started and allow candidates to campaign for 15 days as required by the electoral law, the Election Commission postponed the parliamentary polls to 30 April. The term of the outgoing legislature ended on 22 April.

In the end, some 1,600 candidates from 19 party or coalition lists stood for the parliamentary elections. The FCBE was challenged by the Build the Nation Union (UN) coalition, which had backed Mr. Houngbedji in the 2011 presidential election. The UN coalition comprised the Rebirth of Benin (RB) and the African Movement for Democracy and Progress (MADEP) - both of which had been in the ADD coalition in 2007 - as well as the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Key Force (FC) and Mr. Houngbedji's Democratic Renewal Party (PRD).

President Yayi accused the opposition forces in the outgoing legislature of blocking ratification of a CFA 600 billion francs (US$ 1.36 billion) financing agreement with the Saudi Government. The FCBE urged voters to give it a parliamentary majority to allow the President to undertake the reforms needed for the country's development.

Mr. Houngbedji himself did not run for the parliamentary polls, criticizing the "calamitous electoral process", but stated that he would support the UN coalition. The UN coalition urged voters to use the parliamentary polls to "sanction the regime" which had "stolen" the coalition's victory in the presidential election. Former First Lady Rosine Vieyra Soglo, who was running under the UN coalition banner, promised to improve living conditions for the Beninese people and strengthen the country's democracy.

Turnout was reportedly low among the 3.6 million registered voters. The opening of several polling stations was delayed due to the late distribution of ballot papers. Voting nevertheless took place without any major incident.

The final results gave the FCBE 41 seats, 14 more than in 2007. Four pro-presidential parties (see note) took two seats each, giving the President's camp a total of 49 seats. The UN coalition took 30 while two other small parties took two seats each. In all, eight women, including First Lady Chantal de Souza Yayi and Ms. Soglo, were elected.

On 17 May, the newly elected legislature held its first session. On 21 May, it re-elected Mr. Mathurin Nago (FCBE) as its Speaker.

The four pro-presidential parties are as follows:
- Union for Benin (UB)
- Amana Alliance
- Strength in Unity Alliance (AFU)
- Cauris 2 Alliance
Voter turnout
Round no 130 April 2011
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) 41
Build the Nation Union (UN) 30
Amana Alliance 2
G13 Baobab Alliance 2
Strength in Unity Alliance (AFU) 2
Cauris 2 Alliance 2
Hope Force - Union for Change (UPR) 2
Union for Benin (UB) 2
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Note on the number of women:
Ms. Chantal de Souza Yayi resigned and has been replaced by her male substitute. The number of women has been reduced from eight to seven.
Source: National Assembly (19.05.2011)

Copyright 1996-2013 Inter-Parliamentary Union