Businessman Patrice Talon wins Benin’s Presidential Elections
Patrice Talon won the presidential elections after the second round of voting. The incumbent Prime Minister and only challenger, Lionel Zinsou acknowledged and conceded defeat before official results were released. Talon got 65% of the votes while Zinsou secured 35%.
In a gracious move, Lionel Zinsou told the press “the provisional results point to a decisive victory for Patrice Talon. The difference is significant, Talon’s victory is certain. I have called to congratulate him and wish him good luck and put myself at his disposal to prepare for the handover.”
Talon, an entrepreneur popularly known as the “king of cotton” made his money from cotton and manning Cotonou’s ports, had declared himself as the authentic Beninese candidate and consistently attacked his rival, Zinsou’s dual French nationality. Zinsou who was a speech writer for former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius had been repeatedly called “yovo” or “the white man” during the campaign.
According to Premium Times, Mr. Talon, a successful businessman and former ally of incumbent President, Mr. Yayi, who rose from a humble beginning had bankrolled Mr Yayi’s successful campaigns in 2006 and 2011 but fell out with the outgoing President and fled to Paris after he was accused of planning to overthrow Mr. Yayi in a coup.
He only returned to the country last October after he was granted a presidential pardon.
He endeared himself to young Beninese with his taste for luxury. Many of them look up to him as being able to come up with solutions for the country’s high unemployment.