Benin’s leading opposition party has named prime minister Lionel Zinsou as their prefered candidate for next month’s elections. President Boni Yayi has also endorsed him for the top seat.
The Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) made the declaration at a ceremony on Saturday, saying that Zinsou is the “consensus candidate” that would bring prosperity in Benin.
‘With him, Benin can begin to develop,” said Adrien Houngbédji, president of the PRD party.
Responding to the news, Zinsou described the move as ‘great support’, saying the country will face its challenges in unity.
However, he has not always been the candidate of choice.
Earlier this month, some members of the ruling party, the FCBE, opposition and trade unions poured cold water on his candidacy, saying he would make a disastrous leader.
The remarks were made on grounds that Zinsou has spent a lot of time in France and is ‘removed from the realities of Benin’, they said.
In the February 28 elections, Zinsou will face competition from a number of candidates, including Sebestien Ajavon, a prominent Benin businessman who announced his candidacy earlier this month, calling for a reduction in youth unemployment, improved access to energy and less corruption.