May 6, 2011 / 10:09 PM / 8 years ago

Benin's Yayi beats opposition in legislative polls

COTONOU, May 6 (Reuters) - Benin President Boni Yayi’s party won 41 of the 83 seats up for grabs in last month’s legislative elections, while parties allied with him won another 11, according to provisional results released on Friday.

The results will give the West African country’s leader an effective majority in parliament, two months after his victory in a presidential election that the opposition said was rigged.

Before the parliamentary polls, Yayi, 58, accused opposition deputies of holding up a 600 billion CFA franc ($1.36 billion) financing accord with the Saudi government by preventing its ratification.

“This is a relief for the Beninois people, as these development projects meant to combat poverty will no longer be impeded,” said Candide Azzanai, a government spokesman, in an interview on national television.

A top regional cotton producer of nine million people whose capital Cotonou is a major port, Benin is one of few countries in West Africa to have a reputation for holding fair elections.

The opposition won 31 seats under the leadership of Adrien Houngbedji, who lost the March presidential election to Yayi.

Yayi was last year embroiled in a scandal over a collapsed ponzi scheme, which dented his popularity. He denied involvement in the scheme, which led to 100,000 people taking to the streets to demand the government help them reclaim their money.

Reporting by Samuel Elijah; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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