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Leaders of Benin (Dahomey) Since Independence

A list of the Beninese (Dahomeyan) leaders since gaining independence on 1 August 1960

Dahomey became an autonomous republic within the French community on 22 May 1959 with Hubert Coutoucou Maga, for the Rassemblement Démocratique du Dahomé (RDD, Dahomey Democratic Rally), as prime minister. When the country achieved independence on 1 August 1960, Maga became its first president. His time in office was limited, and increasing economic and social problems led to a series of military coups, which ended in 1972 with Major (later General) Mathieu Kérékou taking power. Kérékou followed Marxist-Leninist policies until the late 80s when moves towards a more democratic government were introduced.

In relatively free and fair elections in 1990, Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo of the Parti de la Renaissance du Bénin (PRB, Party for the Rebirth of Benin) was elected. Kérékou returned to poser for Front d'Action pour le Rénouveau et le Développement (FARD, Action Front for Renewal and Development) in 1996, and was reelected in 2001. At the end of his second term, Kérékou stepped down in favor of a political independent, Thomas Yayi Boni.

President of the Republic of Dahomey
1 Aug 1960 - 27 October 1963 Hubert Coutoucou Maga RDD

Provisional Government of Dahomey
27 October 1963 - 28 October 1963 Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin
Sourou-Migan Apithy
Coutoucou Hubert Maga

Head of the Provisional Military Government of Dahomey
28 October 1963 - 25 January 1964 Christophe Soglo

President of the Republic of Dahomey
25 January 1964 - 27 November 1965 Sourou-Migan Apithy PDD
27 November 1965 - 29 November 1965 Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin PDD
29 November 1965 - 22 December 1965 Tahirou Congacou PDD

Head of Military Government
22 December 1965 - 19 December 1967 Christophe Soglo

Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee
19 December 1967 - 20 December 1967 Christophe Soglo

Military Head of State
20 December 1967 - 21 December 1967 Iropa Maurice Kouandété
21 December 1967 - 17 July 1968 Alphonse Amadou Alley
17 July 1968 - 10 December 1969 Émile Derlin Henri Zinsou
10 December 1969 - 13 December 1969 Iropa Maurice Kouandété

The Directory - Military Head(s) of State
13 December 1969 - 7 May 1970 Paul-Émile de Souza (Chairman)
Iropa Maurice Kouandété
Benoît Sinzogan

Chairman of the Presidential Council
7 May 1970 - 7 May 1972 Coutoucou Hubert Maga RDD
7 May 1972 - 26 October 1972 Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin PDD

Head of National Council of the Revolution
26 October 1972 - 1980 Mathieu Kérékou

President of the Republic of Benin
1980 - 4 April 1991 Mathieu Kérékou PRPB
4 April 1991 - 4 April 1996 Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo PRB
4 April 1996 - 4 April 2006 Mathieu Kérékou FARD
4 April 2006 - Present Thomas Yayi Boni Independent

More about the political history of Benin (Dahomey) below.

Key to Political Parties
FARD Front d'Action pour le Rénouveau et le Développement
Action Front for Renewal and Development
PDD Parti Démocratique du Dahomé
Dahomey Democratic Party
PRB Parti de la Renaissance du Bénin
Party for the Rebirth of Benin
PRD Parti Républicain du Dahomey
Dahomey Republican Party
PRD (1990s) Parti du Renouveau Démocratique
Democratic Renewal Party
PRPB Parti de la Révolution Populaire Béninoise
Party of the Beninese People's Revolution
RDD Rassemblement Démocratique du Dahomé
Dahomey Democratic Rally
UDD Union Démocratique du Dahomé
Dahomey Democratic Union

The History of Benin (Dahomey)
• A Very Short History of Benin (Dahomey)

More on the History of Benin (Dahomey)
• Path to Independence: Benin (Dahomey)
Hubert Coutoucou Maga
• Benin (Dahomey) Acronyms

African History Resources: Benin (Dahomey)
• Where in Africa is Benin?
• Political Map: Benin
• Outline Map: Benin

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