COTONOU — Businessman Patrice Talon won the second round of Benin’s presidential election on Sunday, his adversary and incumbent Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou said before the release of official results.
"The provisional results point to a decisive victory for Patrice Talon," said Zinsou. "The difference is significant, (Talon’s) electorial 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."
The electoral commission is expected to announce provisional results at some time on Monday, he said.
Some 4.7 million people were eligible to cast their ballots in the vote to elect a successor to outgoing President Thomas Boni Yayi.
He is bowing out after serving a maximum two five-year terms, marking him out from many African leaders who have tried to change constitutions to stay in power.
Prime Minister Zinsou, from Boni Yayi’s Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin (FCBE) party, hailed "an exceptionally serene and calm campaign, without trouble or tension" in the small west African country.
Zinsou came out top in the first round of elections held on March 6, with 27.1 per cent of the vote, compared to 23.5 per cent for the "king of cotton" Talon.
Since then, 24 of the 32 other candidates who stood in the first round have come out in support of the businessman, including third-placed Sebastien Ajavon, who won 22 per cent of votes. — AFP