Benin's ex-president Nicéphore Soglo rushed to Paris

Cotonou- Benin (PANA) -- Benin's former President Nicéphore Soglo was urgently flown to Paris Monday night for treatment at the American hospital in the French capital, according to reliable sources in Cotonou.
However, when contacted by PANA in Cotonou, Soglo's family members and collaborators of the mayor of Benin's business capital, declined to reveal the nature of his latest ailment.
But, on his arrival at Cotonou airport at around 11.
00 GMT on Monday night, the former was able to go up the stairs to the VIP lounge unassisted using a walking stick.
Soglo had won the first multiparty presidential elections in 1991 with 66/73% against 32.
27% by his political rival, Mathieu Kerekou, after the country had pioneered in organising a national political conference.
Kérékou had then accepted to step down from the presidency, which he had held since the coup d'etat in 1972.
He bounced back and won the following presidential election in 1996.
Kerekou went on to win the third democratic election of 2001 with 47.
06% of the votes cast, while his 1991 rival, Nicephore Soglo, collected 28.
94 % of the ballots.
However, hitches occurred during the second ballot of that presidential election between the two rivals in the first round.
Nicephore Soglo withdrew his candidature during the run-off when the Constitutional Court rejected his petition seeking to nullify the elections results because of alleged irregularities during the first round.
The chairman of the opposition Party for Democratic Renewal (PRD) Adrien Houngbedji, who had come third with 13.
47 % of the votes, also pulled out, saying he did not want to endorse what he termed as "sham" elections.
The paved the way for Kerekou's re-election on 18 March 2001, when he gathered 84% of the votes in the second round at the expense of his senior minister, Bruno Amoussou, to begin a new five-year mandate, which ends in March 2006.
His rival, Nicephore Soglo was elected to be municipal councillor in Cotonou in December 2003.
His fellow councillors later elected him to be the mayor of Benin's business capital.
Kerekou (71) as well as Soglo are constitutionally barred from standing in the presidential election of 5 March 2006 because they are all above the age limit of 70 years.

31 janvier 2006 11:58:00

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