Thursday, May 12, 2016

Benin's love affairs with outsiders

Donald Trump is highly unusual in American presidential politics in that he is not a politician (nor a war hero, which is the historically most common exception). 

In Benin, however, outsiders are a regular feature in presidential politics. Claire Adida gives a summary in her post about Benin's election. Apart from Kerekou, who led Africa for almost 20 years before democratization and 8 years after democratization, all of Benin's presidents since democratization have been economists, and now it has a businessman.

The March election was, in Adida's terms, a campaign between Zinsou, "The Wrong Kind of Outsider" (too French), and Talon, "The Ironic Outsider" (Benin's wealthiest man, who made his fortune in part through connections with political insiders).

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