Benin's Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Benin Prime Minister Zinsou concedes defeat in presidential elections

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Benin Prime Minister Zinsou concedes defeat in presidential elections

Benin Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou on Monday conceded defeat to businessman Patrice Talon in presidential elections.

“I called Patrice Talon tonight to congratulate him on his victory and wish him luck,” Zinsou said in a statement on his Facebook page.

Zinsou and Talon were competing in a second-round run-off vote after neither won an outright majority in the first round of voting on March 6. Zinsou conceded after early results overnight gave Talon 64.8 percent of the vote, against 35.2 for Zinsou.

Zinsou, a former economist and investment banker, backed by outgoing President Thomas Boni Yayi and the main opposition Democratic Renewal Party, was an early front-runner in the election after winning the first round of voting.

However, he struggled to overcome the perception that having spent the bulk of his career abroad he is an outsider in his own country.

Talon was not immediately available to comment. He was a staunch supporter of Yayi before falling out of favour. Yayi later accused him of involvement in a plot to poison him.

Mediation efforts led to a presidential pardon, however, and Talon returned from exile in France in October.

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