Officially: République Populaire du Bénin.
Seat of government: Cotonou.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly by two-round majority. The parliament (Assemblée Nationale) is elected through party-list proportional representation.
Governing party: Forces Cauris pour un Bénin Emergent.
Head of government: Yayi Boni, FCBE, president.
Chief opposition party: L’Union Fait la Nation.
Recent history: For long, the state experienced peaceful transfers of power, but between two rivals, former coup leader and dictator Mathieu Kérékou (1975-91, 1996-2006) and his opponent Nicéphore Soglo (1991-6). The state’s first three presidential elections after the beginning of democracy (1991, 1996, 2001) ended in three runoffs between the rivals. Soglo won the first runoff, and Kérékou the second. Soglo withdrew from the third contest charging first-round fraud, and Kérékou was reelected in a runoff with an opponent who endorsed him. Kérékou and Soglo were barred by age from the 2006 contest, which went to a runoff between Boni and Adrien Houngbédji. Boyi was reelected in the first round in 2011, with Houngbédji his closest challenger. The FCBE finished first in a 2015 legislative election, but lost its majority.
FH: 2-2, free. Econ: 6.00 (79), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2015 May 3.