Benin's electoral system is modeled on the French system - if no candidate wins a majority in the first round, there will be a run-off between the top two candidates. Since the country re-introduced multiparty presidential elections in 1991, four of five presidential elections have resulted in a run-off. The exception was 2011, when Yayi Boni won re-election in the first round with 53% of the vote.
With no incumbent running and some 33 candidates competing, it seems like the first round will be followed by a runoff.
The frontrunner is Lionel Zinsou, who is Yayi Boni's successor, current prime minister, and endorsed by Adrien Houngbedji, who has placed second or third in the past four presidential elections.
Other prominent candidates include:
- Patrice Talon, a businessman who used to be an ally of the president, and helped finance his election campaigns. Talon says he split with the president because Yayi wanted to run for a third term.
- Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, former president of the West African Development Bank (BOAD), who placed third with 6.5% of votes cast in the first round of the 2011 presidential election
- Pascal Iréné Koukpaki, former prime minister (2011-2013).
‘‘You saw the fever. Did you see wherever we go, people welcomed us, people are happy to have someone like Lionel Zinsou as president of the Republic of Benin. Lionel Zinsou for us is a man of development, Lionel Zinsou for us means development of the country, employment for the youth. That is why we support Lionel Zinsou. And we believe that in the first round, we will win,’‘ said Celine Houessinon, a campaigner for Lionel Zinsou.