Benin's presidential contest heading to runoff, results show

Early results from Benin's presidential vote show there will be a runoff election between the ruling party's chosen candidate and a cotton magnate.

The West African nation's election commission released "key trends" — or unofficial results — Tuesday morning that gave Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou 28 percent of Sunday's vote, short of the majority required for a first-round win. Patrice Talon, known locally as "the king of cotton," came in second with 24 percent. He was followed closely by Sebastien Ajavon, another businessman.

If the results are validated by the constitutional court, Zinsou and Talon will participate in a runoff expected this month.

President Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down after two terms in a bid to solidify Benin's reputation as a stable democracy in tumultuous West Africa.