The new Constitutional Court of Benin began its mandate on Tuesday, a jurisdiction with a composition criticized by the opposition, which denounces the absence of its representatives within this institution, in particular, responsible for supervising the 2026 elections.
“We have no doubt that you will take on this task with responsibility and honour,” President Patrice Talon declared in Cotonou during an official ceremony. Of the seven new members of the High Court, three were appointed by the president and four by the deputies.
The opposition denounced the choices of the National Assembly last week, deploring not having had a say. According to Les Démocrates, the main opposition formation, the appointment of members of the Court by the office of the Assembly must also take into account the parliamentary minority.
"The designation of the four personalities to the Constitutional Court cannot be done without a personality designated by the Les Démocrates party," Guy Mitokpè, a party official, told the press at the end of May.
Former Minister of Justice and Higher Education Dorothé Sossa, a lawyer by profession, will preside over the Court for the next five years.
The composition of this court could prove crucial because its mission is to control the elections, the next of which, the legislative, municipal and presidential elections will all be held in 2026.
In recent years, the Court has been seized many times by the opposition, in particular questioning the results or the organization of the last elections. The high court did not respond favourably to most of these requests.
Elected in 2016, and re-elected in 2021, the wealthy businessman Patrice Talon has launched all-out political and economic reforms with a view to putting his country on the path to development.
But this modernization has also been accompanied by a significant democratic decline. The main opposition figures are either in prison or in exile.