Parliamentary Chamber: Assemblée nationale


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  Assemblée nationale

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  30 March 2003

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the member's term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The electoral campaign for the legislative elections of 30 March 2003 officially began on 14 March 2003. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENA) of Benin authorised a total of 1,162 titular candidates from 14 parties or coalitions of parties vying for the 83 seats to be filled. The 14-day campaign was dominated by partisan infighting and the settling of scores.

All of the major political groupings or alliances, including the two leading opposition parties, the Rebirth of Benin (RB) of the mayor of the economic capital of Cotonou and former Head of State, Mr. Nicéphore Soglo, and the Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) of Mr. Adrien Houngbédji, mayor of the political capital of Porto-Novo, were in the running. The Union for the Benin of the Future (UBF), the outgoing coalition, which is the largest alliance in the country (six parties), was also on the list of parties in contention.

Over 1,500 observers from Benin and other African countries helped man the 10,000 polling booths in the country's 24 electoral districts for election observation purposes. All welcomed the climate of serenity and discipline that characterised the voting.

The legislative elections took place in an atmosphere of calm but were marked by low turnout, unlike previous votes held since democratisation got under way in 1990. Indeed, turnout was a scant 52 per cent.

According to the final results, the Benin presidential grouping, composed of the UBF, the African Movement for Democracy and Progress (MADEP), the Alliance of Forces for Progress (AFP) and other alliances of parties that support the government of Mr. Mathieu Kérékou, swept 52 of the 83 seats to be filled, obtaining a clear majority for the first time since the start of the democratic process. The PRD held its ground, with 12 seats as compared with 11 in the previous National Assembly. However, the Rebirth of Benin (RB) won only 15 seats (- 12), as it was hard hit by an internal crisis that led some of its MPs to resign. The Star Alliance and the New Alliance, two other parties close to the opposition, took three and two seats, respectively. In all, 11 political parties and alliance, including four opposition parties, are represented in the new Parliament.

On 25 April 2003, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration and Secretary General of MADEP, Mr. Antoine Idji Kolawolé, was elected President of the National Assembly.

Round no 1 (30 March 2003): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 3 084 422
Voters 1 724 093 (56 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 237 819
Valid votes 1 486 274

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Presidential Movement (MP) 54
Opposition parties 29

  Presidential Movement:
  • Union for the Benin of the Future (UBF): 31 seats
  • African Movement for Democracy and Progress (MADEP): 9 seats
  • Key Force: 5 seats
  • Mdc-Ps-Cpp Alliance: 2 seats
  • Impetus for Progress and Democracy (Alliance IPD): 2 seats
  • New Alliance: 2 seats
  • Alliance of Progressive Forces (AFP): 1 seat
  • Movement for Development and Solidarity (MDS): 1 seat
  • Rally for Democracy and Progress: 1 seat
The opposition parties:
  • Rebirth of Benin (RB): 15 seats
  • Democratic Renewal Party (PRD): 11 seats
  • Star Alliance: 3 seats
Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 77
Women: 6
Percent of women: 7.23

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