People's Republic of Benin
République populaire du Bénin
Motto: Prolétaires de tous les pays, unissez-vous!
"Workers of the world unite!"
The Dawn of a New Day
|Common languages||French, Yoruba, Fon|
|Government||Unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party state|
|Historical era||Cold War|
|26 October 1972|
|30 November 1975|
|1 March 1990|
|Currency||West African CFA franc (XOF)|
|ISO 3166 code||BJ|
|History of Benin|
|History of the Kingdom of Dahomey|
The People's Republic of Benin (French : République populaire du Bénin; sometimes translated as Benin Popular Republic or Popular Republic of Benin) was a socialist state located in the Gulf of Guinea on the African continent, which would become present-day Benin. The People's Republic was established on 30 November 1975, after the 1972 coup d'état in the Republic of Dahomey. It effectively lasted until 1 March 1990, with the adoption of a new constitution, and the abolition of Marxism-Leninism in the nation in 1989.
On 26 October 1972, the Armed Forces led by Commander Mathieu Kérékou overthrew the government in a coup d'état, suspended the constitution and dissolved both the National Assembly and the Presidential Council. On 30 November 1972, it released the keynote address of New Politics of National Independence. The territorial administration was reformed, mayors and deputies replacing traditional structures (village chiefs, convents, animist priests, etc.). On 30 November 1974, before an assembly of stunned notables in the city of Abomey, he gave a speech proclaiming the formal accession of his government to Marxism-Leninism.He soon aligned Dahomey with the Soviet Union. The People's Revolutionary Party of Benin, designed as a vanguard party, was created on the same day as the country's only legal party.
The first year of the Marxist government was marked by purges in the state apparatus. President Kérékou condemned and sometimes executed, various representatives of the former political regime, and some of its own employees: Captain Michel Aipké, Interior minister, was sentenced to death and executed on a charge of adultery with the wife of the head of state. He was shot, and activists invited to file past his body.On 30 November 1975, with the first anniversary of the speech of Abomey, Kérékou changed the country's name to Benin, named after the Benin Empire that had once flourished in neighboring Nigeria (south-central). The National Day was set for 30 November referring to three days of 1972, 1974, and 1975, dubbed by the regime the Three Glorious.
In January 1977, an attempted coup, called Operation Shrimp,led by the mercenary Bob Denard and supported by France, Gabon, and Morocco failed and it helped to harden the regime, which was officially moving toward the way of a government-political party. The constitution was adopted on 26 August of that year, Article 4 stating:
People's Republic of Benin, the road to development is socialism. Its philosophical basis is Marxism-Leninism to be applied in a lively and creative manner to the realities of Benin. All activities of national social life in the People's Republic of Benin are organized in this way under the leadership of the revolution of Benin, detachment vanguard of exploited and oppressed masses, leading core of the Beninese people as a whole and its revolution.
A basic law established an all-powerful national assembly.
The opposition was muzzled, and political prisoners remained in detention for years without trial. The elections were held under a system of unique applications. Campaigns were conducted for rural development and improving education. The government also pursued a policy of anti-religious inspiration, in order to root out witchcraft, forces of evil, and retrograde beliefs (West African Vodun, a traditional religion well established in the South, was prohibited,which did not prevent President Kérékou, a few years later, from having his personal marabout, during the period in which he identified as Muslim). Benin received only modest support from other communist countries, hosting several teams from cooperating Cuba, East Germany, the USSR, and North Korea.
Benin tried to implement extensive programs of economic and social development without getting results. Mismanagement and corruption undermined the country's economy. The industrialization strategy by the internal market of Benin caused an escalation of foreign debt. Between 1980 and 1985, the annual service of its external debt raised from 20 to 49 million, while its GNP dropped from 1.402 to 1.024 billion and the stock of debt exploded from 424 to 817 million.The three former presidents, Hubert Maga, Sourou Migan Apithy, and Justin Ahomadegbe (imprisoned in 1972) were released in 1981.
A new constitution was adopted in 1978, and the first elections for the National Revolutionary Assembly were held in 1979. Kérékou was elected unopposed to a four-year term as president in 1980 and reelected in 1984. As was the case in most Marxist-Leninist states, the National Revolutionary Assembly was nominally the highest source of state power, but in practice did little more than rubber-stamp decisions already made by Kérékou and the PRPB.
In 1986, the economic situation in Benin had become critical: the system, ironically, already dubbed the Marxism-Beninism,inherited the nickname of laxism-Leninism. A popular running gag said that the number of supporters convinced by the regime did not exceed twelve. Agriculture was disorganized, the Commercial Bank of Benin ruined, and communities were largely paralyzed due to lack of budget. On the political front, the violations of human rights, with cases of torture of political prisoners, contributed to social tension: the church and the unions opposed more openly the regime. Plans for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed in 1987 draconian economic measures: 10% additional levy on wages, hiring freezes, and compulsory retirements. On June 16, 1989, the People's Republic of Benin signed with the IMF a first adjustment plan, in exchange for enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF) of 21.9 million Special Drawing Rights of the IMF. Were planned: a reduction in public expenditure and tax reform, privatizations, reorganization or liquidation of public enterprises, a policy of liberalization and the obligation to enter into that borrowing at concessional rates. The IMF agreement set off a massive strike of students and staff, requiring the payment of their salaries and their scholarships. On 22 June 1989, the country signed a rescheduling agreement first with the Paris Club, for a total of $199 million and Benin was granted a 14.1% reduction of its debt.
Real per capita GDP (constant 2000 US$) in Benin grew by approximately 0.3% per year from 1975 to 1989.While this rate of growth is quite weak by absolute standards, it was slightly above the norm for sub-Saharan Africa at the time - real per capita GDP for the region as a whole declined by about 1.0% per year over the same period.
The social and political turmoil, catastrophic economic situation and fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe led President Kérékou to agree to bring down his regime. In February 1989, a pastoral letter signed by eleven bishops of Benin expressed its condemnation of the People's Republic. On 7 December 1989, Kérékou took the lead and surprised the people disseminating an official statement announcing the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism, the liquidation of the Political Bureau, and the closure of the party's central committee.The Government accepted the establishment of a National Conference bringing together representatives of different political movements. The Conference opened on 19 February 1990: Kérékou expressed himself in person on 21 February, publicly recognising the failure of his policy. The work of the Conference decided to draft a new constitution and the establishment of a democratic process provided by a provisional government entrusted to a prime minister. Kérékou remained head of state on a temporary basis. Kérékou said on 28 February to the attention of the Conference: "I accept all the conclusions of your work."
A transitional government was set up in 1990, paving the way for the return of a multi-party system. The new constitution was adopted by referendum in December 1990. The official name of Benin was preserved for the country, which became the Republic of Benin . In the presidential election in March 1991, Prime Minister Nicephore Soglo defeated Kérékou, winning 67.7% of the vote. Kérékou accepted the result and left office. He became president again when he defeated Soglo in the next election in March 1996, having meanwhile dropped all references to Marxism and atheism and having become an evangelical pastor. His return to power involved no recovery of a Marxist-Leninist regime in Benin.
Benin, officially the Republic of Benin and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east. The majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 square kilometres (44,310 sq mi) and its population in 2018 was estimated to be approximately 11.49 million. Benin is a tropical nation, highly dependent on agriculture, and is a large exporter of cotton and palm oil. Substantial employment and income arise from subsistence farming.
Marxism–Leninism is a political philosophy and self-proclaimed science that seeks to establish a socialist state and then develop it further into socialism and eventually communism, a classless social system with common ownership of the means of production and with full social and economic equality of all members of society. Marxist–Leninists espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of orthodox Marxism and Leninism, but they generally support the idea of a vanguard party, a communist party-led state, state-dominance over the economy, internationalism and opposition to bourgeois democracy, capitalism, imperialism and racism. As an ideology, it was developed by Joseph Stalin in the late 1920s based on his understanding and synthesis of both orthodox Marxism and Leninism. It was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union and the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc as well as the political parties of the Communist International after Bolshevisation. Today, Marxism–Leninism is the ideology of Stalinist and Maoist political parties around the world and remains the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.
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The Politics of Benin take place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, wherein the President of Benin is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the legislature. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The current political system is derived from the 1990 Constitution of Benin and the subsequent transition to democracy in 1991. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Benin a "hybrid regime" in 2018.
People's republic is an official title used by some currently or formerly communist or left-wing states. Although it initially became associated with populist movements in the 19th century such as the German Völkisch movement and the Narodniks in Russia, it is now mainly associated to soviet republics, socialist states following people's democracy, sovereign states with a democratic-republican constitution usually mentioning socialism, or simply a title used by a given country.
Mathieu Kérékou was a Beninese politician who served as President of Benin from 1972 to 1991 and again from 1996 to 2006. After seizing power in a military coup, he ruled the country for 19 years, for most of that time under an officially Marxist–Leninist ideology, before he was stripped of his powers by the National Conference of 1990. He was defeated in the 1991 presidential election but was returned to the presidency in the 1996 election and controversially re-elected in 2001.
Elections in Benin take place within the framework of a multi-party democracy and a presidential system. Both the President and the National Assembly are directly elected by voters, with elections organised by the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA).
Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo is a Beninese politician who was Prime Minister of Benin from 1990 to 1991 and President from 1991 to 1996. He was Mayor of Cotonou from 2003 to 2015. Soglo is married to Rosine Vieyra Soglo, the Beninois former First Lady and politician.
Adrien Houngbédji is a Beninese politician and the leader of the Democratic Renewal Party, one of Benin's main political parties. He was President of the National Assembly of Benin from 1991 to 1995, Prime Minister of Benin from 1996 to 1998, and President of the National Assembly again from 1999 to 2003. Beginning in 1991, he stood repeatedly as a presidential candidate; he placed second in 2006, but was heavily defeated by Yayi Boni in a second round of voting. From 2015 to 2019, he served for a third time as President of the National Assembly.
Presidential elections were held in Benin on 5 March 2006. Long-time president Mathieu Kérékou was barred from running again by a two-term limit and an age limit of 70 years for candidates; in July 2005 he signalled that he would not seek to change the constitution, as has been done in some other African countries, so that he could run again. Kérékou's long-time rival Nicéphore Soglo was also barred from standing due to his age. With both of the men who had been the country's leading political figures for many years unable to contest the election, it had a level of openness and unpredictability that is uncommon to African presidential elections. Since no candidate won a majority, a second round was held between the two leading candidates on 19 March; Yayi Boni won the election and took office in April.
The People's Revolutionary Party of Benin was a political party in the People's Republic of Benin. It was founded in 1975 by General Mathieu Kérékou. With the new constitution of 30 November 1975, PRPB became the sole legal party in the country. Ideologically, the party was committed to Marxism-Leninism.
The Republic of Dahomey was established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. Prior to attaining autonomy it had been French Dahomey, part of the French Union. On August 1, 1960, it attained full independence from France.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Benin:
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The 1963 Dahomeyan coup d'état was staged on October 28, 1963, by Christophe Soglo, who took control of the Republic of Dahomey to prevent a civil war. He overthrew Hubert Maga, whose presidency faced extreme economic stagnation and a host of other problems.
The National League of Patriotic Youth was a political movement in Dahomey. The organization was founded in 1967. Its followers were nicknamed ligueurs.
The 1972 Dahomeyan coup d'état was a military coup staged on 26 October 1972 by Major Mathieu Kérékou, who took control of the Republic of Dahomey and ended a system of government established following the annulled 1970 presidential election, in which three members of the Presidential Council were to rotate in power. Ahomadégbé-Tomêtin served as the Chairman at the time of the coup.
Devenu République Populaire du Bénin le 30 Novembre 1975, puis République du Bénin le 1er mars 1990...