Benin. President Patrice Talon's attempt to liberalize
parts of the economy faced continued protests and strikes.
In June, the Constitutional Court issued a ban on strikes
among employees in the defense, police, courts and medical
services. The decision drew criticism and changed the
court's previous position.
In August, Talon announced that plans for a referendum to
change the constitution are being laid on ice. The cost was
considered to be too high. The proposals, which Parliament
had previously rejected, intended to increase the proportion
of women in Parliament, abolish the death penalty and
establish a Court of Auditors. A referendum was still
possible after Parliament's no.
Countryaah.com, the government was reformed in late October. Three
ministers from businessman Sébastien Ajavon's party were
dismissed and replaced by representatives from other
parties. The decision indicated that the informal alliance
between the two businessmen had been broken, and that Talon
was seeking to broaden its support for the 2019
Ajavon was eliminated in the 2016 presidential election
and later supported Talon. He claims that the government is
pursuing him with inventive criminal charges. He was
sentenced in October to 20 years for drug offenses. He
refuses, but was in exile in France when the verdict was
Heavy protests led to the government withdrawing a decree
in September to tax the use of the Internet and apps. The
critics said that the government wanted to approach
oppositionists. The France-based group Internet Without
Borders noted the irony that the government's decision was
announced on social media.