Benin’s Political System

Benin’s constitution came into force in 1991 after a referendum in 1990. Following this, Benin is a presidential multi-party-based unity state. The president is elected in the general, direct election for five years and can be re-elected once. The president heads the government and appoints the ministers themselves, who must be formally approved by the legislative assembly, the National Assembly. It has 83 members and is elected in the general, direct election for four years. The voting age is 18 years.

From 1975 to 1990, Benin was a Marxist-Leninist people’s republic. Substantial economic, regional and political turmoil – in which both students and civil servants played a significant role – led to the collapse of the people’s republic and abolished Marxism-Leninism as state-supporting ideology at the turn of the year 1989/90. But even after democratization, economic and regional contradictions have led to a low stability of the government.

Administratively, Benin is divided into 12 regions.


The courts are, in principle, independent; before democratization in 1990, they were under political influence. The judiciary is structured according to French design, with a supreme court of justice (which also serves as the national court) and a supreme court as the supreme court.

Benin’s Defense

The total force figures for Benin ‘s armed forces are 7250 active personnel (2018, IISS ). In addition, 4800 personnel come in a semi-military gendarmerie. Benin has a post-selection military service, with 18 months of first-time service.


The army has a workforce of 6500 active personnel. Material comprising 18 light tanks of a PT-76, 34 reconnaissance vehicles and 34 armored personnel. In addition, the army has light artillery.

Air Force

The Air Force has a personnel force of 250 active personnel, three transport aircraft and five helicopters.

The Navy

The Navy has a personnel force of about 500 active personnel and six patrol vessels.

International operations

Benin participated in 2018 in UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) with 49 personnel and two observers, and in Mali (MINUSMA) with 258 personnel. In addition, Benin participated with observers and a small number of personnel in UN operations in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Sudan (UNMISS) and South Sudan (UNISFA).

Benin Army

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