March 21, 2011 / 11:46 AM / 8 years ago

Benin's Boni Yayi wins second term - court

COTONOU, March 21 (Reuters) - Benin’s highest law-making body said on Monday that President Boni Yayi won last weekend’s presidential election with more than 53 percent of the vote, meaning he will avoid a run-off.

Opposition candidates have five days to contest the court’s decision before the results become final. Last week both Yayi and his rival claimed they had won, raising the prospect of another contested election in West Africa.

West Africa’s regional ECOWAS bloc said in a statement on Saturday it was concerned by escalating tensions in some parts of the country after the electoral commission announced provisional results on Friday.

The president was re-elected with 53.13 percent against 35.64 percent for Adrien Houngbedji, said Robert Dossou, president of Benin’s constitutional court.

“Boni Yayi won an absolute majority of votes required to be declared elected,” he said, addressing media early on Monday.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also chairman of ECOWAS, visited the neighbouring country on Friday and urged the candidates to respect the results and resort to legal means in case of disputes.

Benin is a top regional cotton producer with a population of nine million and has won international praise for avoiding the kind of turbulence that has followed recent elections in Guinea and Ivory Coast. (Reporting by Samuel Elijah; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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