Republic of Benin’s businessman Patrice Talon, who is known as the “king of cotton”, has been declared winner of the country’s presidential run-off.
His only challenger, Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, conceded defeat before result was announced.
“The provisional results point to a decisive victory for Patrice Talon…The difference is significant, (Talon’s) electoral victory is certain.
“I have called Patrice Talon this evening to congratulate him on his victory, wish him good luck and put myself at his disposal to prepare for the handover,” agency report quoted Zinsou as saying.
The head of Benin’s independent electoral commission, Emmanuel Tiando, announced that Talon won 65.39 per cent of the vote, with Zinsou getting 34.61 per cent.
The Constitutional Court will confirm the official result in the coming days, he added.
The tiny West African nation introduced multi-party politics in the 1990s after decades of dictatorship, breaking with a widespread practice of one-party rule common across the continent.
President Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down after two terms.
His decision to leave office is in contrast to leaders in other African nations like Burundi, Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville, which have altered their constitutions to extend presidential term limits.
Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Talon on his electoral victory.
Buhari, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, hailed the government and people of Benin Republic on the peaceful and orderly conduct of the presidential elections.
He saluted the courage and statesmanship of the country’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate of the ruling coalition, in upholding the democratic process by promptly congratulating his main challenger on his electoral victory.
The President hailed Yayi for his leadership throughout the electoral process and for his invaluable contribution to democratic governance in the sub-region as demonstrated in the successful conduct of the presidential elections.
The statement said that the President was encouraged by the determination and exemplary conduct demonstrated by Beninese in coming out en masse to perform their civic duties.
Buhari believed that the successful conclusion of the electoral process marked an important step in consolidating democracy in the sub-region and a beacon for other African countries to emulate.