THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF BENIN
The National Assembly of Benin was created by the constitution of 28 February 1959. The country is in its eighth successive legislature, following the historic 1990 National Conference of the Nation’s Vital Forces, which put an end to the military-Marxist regime of Mathieu Kérékou.
The National Assembly has 83 representatives of the people elected by universal suffrage for a renewable four-year term. It is a unicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. The President of the Parliament is elected by the members of the Assembly. He or she is assisted during his or her term by two vice-presidents, two quaestors and two secretaries elected at the same time. The elected members of the legislature are called “deputies”. The National Assembly has three essential missions:
– To represent the people;
– To vote the laws that organize the functioning of the State;
– To control the action of the government.
The deputies form parliamentary groups by political affinity within the parliament. They are also members of different parliamentary technical committees. They form parliamentary networks on development issues. Beninese MPs sit in the parliaments of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union.
To become a member of the National Assembly, an aspiring candidate must belong to a political party. Currently, there are two political parties, the Union Progressiste (UP) and the Bloc Républicain (RB) in the National Assembly, all of which support government action. The UP is led by Mr. Bruno Amoussou and the RB by Mr. Abdoulaye Bio Tchané. Members of the armed forces and public security forces must resign from their positions to run for office. A sitting member of parliament or mayor may not hold another political or government position at the same time. The constitution does not allow for by-elections. Therefore, when constituting the lists (candidates), the candidate chooses a substitute who becomes his or her replacement in case he or she is appointed or designated to hold a government position as a minister, mayor or head of an institution, or is unable to work, in case of death. For example, in the 7th legislature, when Candide Azannaï was appointed Minister of Defense, he was immediately replaced by his deputy, Mr. Guy Mitokpè. Similarly, the current Minister of Sports, Mr. Oswald Homeky, elected for the 8th legislature, was replaced by Mr. Etienne Tognigban.
The country allows dual nationals to run for any political office.
Currently, the National Assembly has 81 deputies, due to the fact that one member, Mr. Sacca Lafia, and his alternate, Ms. Mariam Chabi Talata Zimé Yérima, have both been appointed to other political positions. Mr. Sacca Lafia, who first served as Minister of the Interior and Public Security, is currently President of the Electoral Council, while Ms. Mariam Chabi Talata Zime Yerima was elected Vice President of the Republic alongside the Head of State, Mr. Patrice Talon, in the 2021 presidential election. Indeed, the constitutional reform of 2019 created the position of Vice President of the Republic eligible in duo with the President of the Republic. Also, another seat has become vacant due to the death of Deputy Alidou Moko Démonlè, who had replaced Mr. who had replaced Mr. Alassane Seidou, the current Minister of the Interior and Public Security. This left two seats vacant, bringing the total to 81. Six (06) of these seats in the National Assembly are occupied by women. Thus, women constitute 7% of parliamentarians. But with the constitutional reform, the parliament will be able to count after the legislative elections of 2023 at least 24 women, at a rate of one per electoral district. The same reform will see a total of 109 deputies elected for an exceptional three-year term. From 2026, the country will hold all elections in the same year. The terms of office of the President of the Republic, deputies and mayors will be aligned over 5 years.
It should be noted that between 1960 and 1972, the country experienced political instability with coups d’état. A revolutionary military regime was installed from 1972 to 1990. Democratic renewal began with the historic National Conference of the Nation’s Vital Forces in February 1990. With President Patrice Talon, Benin recorded its 4th change of power after Nicéphore Soglo (1991-1996), Mathieu Kérékou (1996-2006), Boni Yayi (2006-2016), Patrice Talon (2016 to date).
In addition, the reform of the party system has reduced the country to about 15 political parties, compared to some 200 before 2018. Since 2020, parties represented in parliament and or having elected officials at the head of communes receive public funding; UP and BR as well as the FCBE opposition party are currently concerned. The Executive Secretary of the FCBE, Mr. Paul Hounkpè is the current leader of the opposition. Since 2019, to take away mayoral or deputy seats, any political party must win 10% of the electorate.
SUCCESSION AT THE HEAD OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF BENIN SINCE 1959. IN EFFECT THE DAHOMEY BECAME A REPUBLIC ON DECEMBER 04, 1958:
– Justin Ahomadégbé-Tomêtin/24 April 1959 – November 1960
– Valentin DjibodéAkplogan/4 November 1960- 28 October 1963
– TahirouCongakou/ January 1964 – November 1965
– Ignace Adjo Boco/February 1980 – October 17, 1982 (Revolutionary period. During the revolutionary period with the military-Marxist regime, the National Revolutionary Assembly was called. The deputies, called people’s commissioners, came from the socio-professional layers of the country).
– Romain Vilon Guezo/ October 17, 1982-February 28, 1989 (Revolutionary period)
– Romain Vilon Guezo/ July 1989- February 1990 (Revolutionary period)
– Bishop Isidore de Souza/February 28, 1990-March 31, 1991 (Transition period after the National Conference. During this period, the High Council of the Republic, which emerged from the National Conference, played the role of parliament)
– Adrien Houngbédji 1 April 1991-31 March 1995
– Bruno Amoussou 4 April 1995-19 April 1999
– Adrien Houngbédji 20 April 1999-19 March 2003
– Antoine Idji Kolawolé 22 April 2003- 2 March 2007
– Mathurin Coffi Nago 2 March 2007- 23 May 2015(02 terms in a row)
– Adrien Houngbédji 20 May 2015-18 May 2019
– Louis Gbèhounou Vlavonou May 18, 2019 – in office.