Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
President Boni Yayi’s popularity continued to wane in 2009, as his fragile political alliances in the National Assembly prevented him from following through on campaign promises involving decentralization, privatization, and improved government efficiency.
The government decentralization program moved forward in May, when officials announced that the country’s 12 current regional departments would be increased to 29. However, there were protests in a number of small towns that were not selected as department capitals, casting doubt on implementation of the plan. Meanwhile, although the administration successfully sold its stake in the largest local bank in 2008, it encountered delays in its attempts to privatize the state-owned telecommunications and power companies in 2009.
Benin is an electoral democracy. Despite delays and disorganization, the 25-member CENA effectively oversaw the 2007 legislative polls, which were considered free and fair. However, the commission’s performance noticeably deteriorated during the 2008 local elections.