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Thomas Boni Yayi
Thomas Boni Yayi
(born 1 january 1952) is a Beninese banker and politician who was President of Benin
Benin
from 2006 to 2016. He took office after winning the March 2006 presidential election and was re-elected to a second term in March 2011. He also served as the Chairperson of the African Union
Chairperson of the African Union
from 29 January 2012 to 27 January 2013.

Contents

1 Early life and banking career 2 Presidency

2.1 Assassination attempts

3 Personal life 4 References 5 External links

Early life and banking career[edit] Boni was born in Tchaourou, in the Borgou Department
Borgou Department
in northern Benin, then the French colony of Dahomey. He received his education first in the regional capital of Parakou
Parakou
before moving on to earn a master's degree in economics at the National University of Benin.[1] He then pursued an additional master's degree in economics at the Cheikh Anta Diop University
Cheikh Anta Diop University
in Dakar, Senegal, and then earned a doctorate in economics and politics at the University of Orléans
University of Orléans
in France and at Paris Dauphine University, where he completed a doctorate in economics in 1976.[1] At the end of his education, Boni began a long career in banking. From 1975 until 1979 he worked at the Benin
Benin
Commercial Bank before moving to work at the Central Bank of West African States
Central Bank of West African States
(BCEAO) from 1977 until 1989.[2] From 1992 until 1994, he served as an economic adviser to the President of Benin
Benin
Nicéphore Soglo. In 1994 he left this position to become the President of the West African Development Bank (BOAD).[2] Presidency[edit] Boni stood as one of 26 candidates in the March 2006 presidential election.[3] The sitting president, Mathieu Kérékou, had been a dominant force in the politics of the country since the early 1970s and there were serious doubts about him agreeing to allow a transition of power. Boni surprised many by earning 35.8% of the vote in the first round as an independent candidate.[3] The main parts of his campaign were to improve governance, stimulate the private sector, improve educational opportunities for women, and modernize the agricultural sector.[1] His closest competitor was Adrien Houngbédji of Soglo's Party for Democratic Renewal who received 25 percent. In the runoff between Boni and Houngbédji on 19 March 2006, Boni won with almost 75% of the vote.[3] He took office on 6 April 2006. The 2006 election saw high voter turnout and was considered free and fair by independent election observers.[3] In the 2007 parliamentary elections, a coalition that was led by the Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin
Benin
(FCBE) and supported Boni earned the largest share of seats.[4] This coalition broke apart by 2010 and prevented the passage of many parts of Boni's agenda. By August 2010, an increasingly unified coalition was able to get a majority of the parliament to vote to impeach Boni for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme that took the savings of 100,000 people in Benin.[5] While they did not get the required two-thirds majority to remove Boni from power, the opposition agreed to organize around Houngbédji in the 2011 presidential election.[4] A new voter system in the country was widely criticized by the opposition, and with the assistance of international organizations, Boni agreed to a two-week delay in the 2011 presidential election. The result of the election, deemed free and fair by international election monitors, was a victory for Boni on the first round with 53.8% of the vote.[4] Houngbédji, who received 36%, challenged the election and took the case to the Constitutional Court. The court named Boni as the winner on 21 March 2011, resulting in large-scale protests and police repression of those demonstrations.[4] Although protests continued, the opposition had largely fractured and Boni's coalition earned 49 of the 83 seats in the parliamentary elections that followed.[4] Boni was the first president since the restoration of democracy to win the presidency in a single round. Having served two terms in office, Yayi Boni was constitutionally required to step down in 2016. His preferred successor, Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, was defeated in the March 2016 presidential election by Patrice Talon, and Yayi Boni was succeeded by Talon on 6 April 2016. Soon after leaving office, he headed the African Union's observer mission for the April 2016 presidential election in Equatorial Guinea.[6] Assassination attempts[edit]

Yayi Boni with the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff

On 15 March 2007, Yayi Boni survived an ambush on his convoy near the village of Ikemon while returning from an election campaign rally in the town Ouesse for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The attackers blocked the road with downed trees, and fired upon the vehicle that usually carries the President; however President Boni was traveling in a separate vehicle. Several of his entourage were wounded in the ensuing crossfire between the presidential guard and the would-be assassins.[7] However this information remains unproven since all sources claiming the assassination attempt come from the president's camp. The verification of such information remains impossible to date. On 23 October 2012, the BBC
BBC
reported that the president's doctor, niece, and former commerce minister had been arrested in a plot to poison the president. Patrice Talon, a former ally of the president and businessman, had reportedly paid the niece to substitute the President's medicine with a "toxic substance" while he was on a state visit to Brussels.[8] Personal life[edit] Originally from a Muslim family,[9] Boni is now an Evangelical Protestant. He has five children, and his wife Chantal (née de Souza), a native of the coastal city of Ouidah, is the niece of the former President Paul-Émile de Souza
Paul-Émile de Souza
and the great granddaughter of Francisco Felix de Sousa, also known as Chacha de Souza, who was a Brazilian slave trader and the Viceroy
Viceroy
of Ouidah. A descendant of the Yoruba princes of Sabe in his own right, both Boni Yayi and his wife were awarded chieftaincy titles by the Nigerian king of Ile-Ife
Ile-Ife
in 2008.[10] References[edit]

^ a b c Houngnikpo, Mathurin C.; Decalo, Samuel (2013). Historical Dictionary of Benin. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.  ^ a b "The Presidency". Benin
Benin
Embassy to the United States of America. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.  ^ a b c d "Freedom in the World 2007: Benin". Freedom House. Retrieved 12 December 2014.  ^ a b c d e "Freedom in the World 2012: Benin". Freedom House. Retrieved 12 December 2014.  ^ " Benin
Benin
Profile: Leader". BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2014.  ^ "Benin's ex-president Boni Yayi to head AU mission in Equatorial Guinea". Africanews. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.  ^ "Shooting of the Presidential Convoy and attempted assassination of President Yayi Boni", Yayiboni.com, 16 March 2007. ^ " Benin
Benin
President Boni Yayi 'poison plot': Three charged". BBC
BBC
News. 23 October 2012.  ^ "Yayi Boni is Benin's next President". Afrol.com.  ^ "His Imperial Majesty, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse ll- The Ooni of Ife". theooni.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

(in French) Official site BBC
BBC
News: Benin's new president announced President Bush Meets with President Yayi of Benin

Political offices

Preceded by Mathieu Kérékou President of Benin 2006–2016 Succeeded by Patrice Talon

Diplomatic posts

Preceded by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Chairperson of the African Union 2012–13 Succeeded by Hailemariam Desalegn

v t e

Presidents of Benin

Hubert Maga Christophe Soglo† Sourou-Migan Apithy Justin Ahomadégbé-Tomêtin* Tahirou Congacou* Christophe Soglo† Jean-Baptiste Hachème† Maurice Kouandété† Alphonse Alley† Émile Derlin Zinsou Maurice Kouandété† Paul-Émile de Souza† Hubert Maga Justin Ahomadégbé-Tomêtin Mathieu Kérékou Nicéphore Soglo Mathieu Kérékou Thomas Boni Yayi Patrice Talon

†military *interim

v t e

Chairpersons of the Organisation of African Unity
Organisation of African Unity
and the African Union

Organisation of African Unity

Selassie Nasser Nkrumah Ankrah Selassie Mobutu Boumedienne Ahidjo Kaunda Daddah Hassan II Gowon Barre Amin Ramgoolam Bongo Nimeiry Tolbert Senghor Stevens Moi Mengistu Nyerere Diouf Nguesso Kaunda Traoré Mubarak Museveni Babangida Diouf Mubarak Ben Ali Meles Biya Mugabe Compaoré Bouteflika Eyadéma Chiluba Mwanawasa

African Union

Mbeki Chissano Obasanjo Nguesso Kufuor Kikwete Gaddafi Mutharika Nguema Boni Hailemariam Abdel Aziz Mugabe Déby Condé Kagame

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 80636141 LCCN: no2007094359 ISNI: 0000 0000 7883 6220 GND: 136260411 SUDOC: 098325663 BNF: cb1556

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