Benin president dismisses entire government

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 09, 2013 7:37 AM

COTONOU (Reuters) - Benin President Boni Yayi sacked his entire government on Friday "to breathe a new dynamic" into the 26-member cabinet, a statement from his office said.

The statement did not elaborate on reasons for the change, which came as a surprise. The cabinet had been in place since Yayi was re-elected for a second five-year term as president in 2011. It was not clear when the new government will be named.

Benin, a West African cotton producer situated to the west of Nigeria, has enjoyed two decades of political stability since multi-party democracy was restored. Yayi won the last election with an outright majority in the first round.

However, Benin authorities have called on France to arrest a millionaire businessman that they accuse of trying to poison Yayi as part of an alleged coup plot last year.

Yayi has said he wants to amend parts of the constitution to introduce bodies like an independent election commission and a court to oversee state audits. But he has pledged not to make any amendment that allows him to stand for a third term. Critics suspect his camp has not ruled out this idea.

(Reporting by Samuel Elijah; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)