People in Pira, Benin. Editorial credit: Anton_Ivanov /


Benin had been among the most stable democracies in sub-Saharan Africa, but President Patrice Talon began using the justice system to attack his political opponents after taking office in 2016, and new electoral rules effectively excluded all opposition parties from the 2019 parliamentary elections. Protests surrounding those elections were met with harsh restrictions on civil liberties, including an internet shutdown and deadly police violence against demonstrators.

An opposition demonstrator plays the violin during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images.

Freedom in the World — Benin Country Report

Benin’s status declined from Free to Partly Free in the Freedom in the World report, because a new electoral code and a series of decisions by the courts, electoral authorities, and the government resulted in the exclusion of all opposition parties from the April 2019 parliamentary elections.