Benin has a presidential representative democratic republic with the president who serves as the head of both the state and the government of the nation. Benin has a multi-party system, and the executive power is exercised by the government. The country's legislative power is bestowed on both the legislature and government. Benin's judicial branch is independent of both the legislative and executive branches of the country's government. The 1991 subsequent transition to democracy together with the 1990 Constitution of Benin are the platforms on which the current political system is based.
The Executive Branch
In Benin, the president is only elected to serve a term of five years, and can only serve for two terms. One is only declared a winner by getting majority vote even after a second round if necessary. For one to qualify as a presidential candidate they must be between 40 and 70 years, should be a Beninese resident during elections, should be a citizen of Benin by birth or must have had Beninese nationality for at least ten years, and lastly, a presidential candidate in Benin should be declared both physically and mentally fit by three doctors. Mathieu Kérékou a presidential hopeful in 2006 was not able to run for re-election as he was over 70 years old and had already served two terms. The Cabinet is also responsible for liaising with other areas of the government and ministries.
The primary legislative body is the Beninese Parliament which is the National Assembly. In contrast to the President of Benin serving a five-year term, deputies are elected to serve for only four years to the 83 seats that are available. The National Assembly has a large degree of authority over Government action and exercises the legislative power. In Benin, army members are not allowed to contest for parliamentary seats unless they step down from their military post.
In Benin, private citizens are allowed to challenge the government through the Constitutional Court. Most citizens have used this to particularly in cases of discrimination at the workplace. The highest court in the country is the Supreme Court which was designed to check the on the powers of the executive, and also acts in a consultative role. The Beninese High Court of Justice is the only judicial body that can judge the President. The High Court comprises of the President of the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Court and Parliament except for the president. The country has an "Audiovisual and Communication Authority" which is an institution responsible for guaranteeing access to the media and the freedom of the press. Additionally, the institution is also responsible for ensuring that everyone in the country can access important official information.
Successes and Weaknesses of the Beninese Government
The current President of Benin is Patrice Talon who was sworn in on April 6, 2016. Benin was the first country in Africa to successfully transition to a pluralistic political system of governance from dictatorship. In 1990, Benin adopted a new constitution for the sole purpose of liberating the country's economy together with its political system. In the picture, this Constitution features revolutionary laws which if practiced will elevate the country to greater heights. However, issues such as high levels of illiteracy, corruption, and bribery due to low income, the lack transparency and accountability, and failure to separate the judiciary from the political system act as stumbling blocks.
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