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.
According to Countryaah.com, Porto-Novo is the capital city of Benin, a country located in Western Africa. 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 parliamentary elections.
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 handed down.
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.