Benin. President Thomas Boni Yayi announced in August a
comprehensive reform of government and also abolished the
Prime Minister's post. Half of the 26 members of the
government were replaced, including the Minister of Justice
and the Minister of the Interior. However, the Minister of
Finance and Foreign Minister were allowed to remain.
The opposition and some observers saw this as part of a
long-term plan to seek re-election in 2016, even though the
constitution did not allow Yayi to sit for more than two
terms. Yayi also proposed other amendments to the
Constitution. But in September, Parliament's Law Committee
opposed the introduction of a permanent election commission
and a National Audit Office, a hardship for Yayi.
Countryaah, Yayi suffered another setback in November when nine
members of his government coalition formed their own faction
in parliament. This increases political uncertainty.
Investigations continued about a suspected conspiracy
against the president that was unveiled in 2012. Yayi's
doctor, a sibling and a former minister of commerce are
suspected of having planned to poison the president by
exchanging his medicine for poison. Benin also tried to get
France to extradite a businessman, Patrice Talon, as part of
the plot. Talon, who previously funded the presidential
election campaigns, was also suspected of financial crimes.
A French appellate court rejected the extradition request in
A judge in Benin found the evidence to be inadequate and
wanted to release the detainees. Judge Angelo Houssou was
arrested in May when he was to leave the country. Police
also guarded his residence. Later, an appellate court made
the same assessment of the evidence. The judiciary UNAMAB
announced protest strikes in July against the alleged
harassment and political involvement in appointments of high
judges. Houssou was reported in December to have moved to
the United States where he sought asylum.
In March, police stated that a coup attempt was averted
and that three suspects were searched.