Thursday, October 29, 2009

Benin, History (contd-3)

In 1951 election, only 44% of the voters out of 333,693 (enlarged from 61,958) voted on the election day. Though list of voters contained the names of many dead persons. Apithy was reelected a deputy with 53,463 votes out of 147,350 cast, while maga captured the second seat with 49,463 votes. There were other candidates securing less votes.
Maga's rise to the power occurred during a period of intense regionalism, the 1951 election has been cited as when regionalist parties arose. Not only regionalism , but also it depended on ethnicity one belonged. Regionalism in Dahomey was spurred by the historical resentment shared by members of the former kingdoms of Abomey, Porto Novo, and and disorganised tribes from the north. Its result was the creation of three defacto tribal zones: the north, southeast and southwest, which were led by Maga, Apithy and Ahomadegbe- Tometin, respectively.Maga received 98% votes from the northern towns and villages but only 0.5 % votes came from the coastal regions.
In 1959 election, Maga agreed that the Maga's party RDD (Dahimey Democratic Rally) would field candidates only in the north of the country, in return Apithy's Republican Party of Dahomey (PRD) ran only in the south. The result of the election was that the PRD received 37 seats, RDD received only 22 and Tometin's party UDD (Dahomey Democratic Union) received 11 seats. Tometin took to the streets in rioting and French soldiers were called in. As a compromise formula Maga was chosen as the Premier on may ,1959.
But election coincided with a collapse of the colonial economy. There was little foreign investment in the country, and unemployment was rising
Maga tried to minimise the tribalism in the country's politics.
On Aug1, 1960, Maga went to Paris to Dahomey was offered Autonomey and mag waas chaosen as Dahomey's first president.