Government type:
presidential republic
Capital:
name: Porto-Novo (constitutional capital); Cotonou (seat of government)

Administrative divisions:
12 departments; Alibori, Atacora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Couffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
Independence:
1 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 August (1960)
Constitution:
history: previous 1946, 1958 (preindependence); latest adopted by referendum 2 December 1990, promulgated 11 December 1990
amendments: proposed concurrently by the president of the republic (after a decision in the Council of Ministers) and the National Assembly; consideration of drafts or proposals requires at least three-fourths majority vote of the Assembly membership; passage requires approval in a referendum unless approved by at least four-fifths majority vote of the Assembly membership; constitutional articles affecting territorial sovereignty, the republican form of government, and secularity of Benin cannot be amended (2017)
Legal system:
civil law system modeled largely on the French system and some customary law
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Benin
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016); prime minister position abolished
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 6 March and 20 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: Patrice TALON elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Lionel ZINSOU (FCBE) 28.4%, Patrice TALON (independent) 24.8%, Sebastien AJAVON (independent) 23.%, Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE (ABT) 8.8%, Pascal KOUPAKI (NC) 5.9%, other 9.1%; percent of vote in second round - Patrice TALON 65.4%, Lionel ZINSOU 34.6%
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 26 April 2015 (next to be held in April 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - FCBE 30.2%, UN 14.4%, PRD 10.6%, AND 7.6%, RB-RP 7.1%, other 30.1%; seats by party - FCBE 33, UN 13, PRD 10, RB-RP 7, AND 5, other 15
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the court president and 3 chamber presidents organized into an administrative division, judicial chamber, and chamber of accounts); Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle (consists of 7 members including the court president); High Court of Justice (consists of the Constitutional Court members, 6 members appointed by the National Assembly, and the Supreme Court president); note - jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice is limited to cases of high treason by the national president or members of the government while in office
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the national president upon the advice of the National Assembly; judges appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members - 4 appointed by the National Assembly and 3 by the national president; members appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; High Court of Justice "other" members elected by the National Assembly; member tenure NA
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; district courts; village courts; Assize courts
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for a Triumphant Benin or ABT [Abdoulaye BIO TCHANE]
African Movement for Development and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]
Benin Renaissance or RB [Lehady SOGLO]
Cowrie Force for an Emerging Benin or FCBE [Yayi BONI]
Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]
National Alliance for Development and Democracy or AND [Valentin Aditi HOUDE]
New Consciousness Rally or NC [Pascal KOUPAKI]
Patriotic Awakening or RP [Janvier YAHOUEDEOU]
Social Democrat Party or PSD [Emmanuel GOLOU]
Sun Alliance or AS [Sacca LAFIA]
Union Makes the Nation or UN [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI] (includes PRD, MADEP)
United Democratic Forces or FDU [Mathurin NAGO]
note: approximately 20 additional minor parties