Who is Patrice Talon, the president of Benin

Who is Patrice Talon, the president of Benin

Editorial staff
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On Sunday, March 20, Benin held the second round of the presidential elections. Patrice Talon was confirmed as president, triumphing over his rival, outgoing prime minister Lionel Zinsou. In the first round, Zinsou won 27 percent of the votes against 24 percent for Talon. Zinsou belongs to the party of Benin’s former president Boni Yayi, who held office from 2006 to 2016 but did not stand as he had already served the two terms allowed by the constitution. Talon, 57, president since 2016, made his money in the cotton market and by managing the port of  Cotonou, the central African country's capital on the Gulf of Guinea. During the election campaign, he presented himself as the real candidate of Benin, attacking Zinsou for his French nationality. Zinsou in fact studied in France, where he lived for a long time and worked as a speech writer for former prime minister Laurent Fabius. On August 2 this year, the court of Cotonou sentenced the former prime minister to six months in jail for the alleged use of false documents. Zinsou, 61, currently resident in France, was sentenced to five years of ineligibility and six months of imprisonment suspended. An economist by training and prime minister of Benin from 2015 to 2016, since June 2017, Zinsou has been chairman of the French Terra Nova think tank. At the last presidential elections in 2016, he was defeated in the runoff, winning 34.6 percent of the votes against 65.4 percent for Talon.