The National Assembly in Porto-Novo as it exists today was formed in 1990. The current National Assembly has 83 members who are directly elected through a system of party-list proportional representation and serve five-year terms.
The first parliament of an independent Benin was defined by the Constitution of 28 February 1959 and lasted from April 1959 to November 1960. It was chaired by Justin Ahomadegbé Tomètin. With a 1960 and a 1964 constitution, two new National Assemblies were enacted each time. The implementation of the Basic Law of 9 September 1977 radically altered the parliament. It was renamed the Revolutionary National Assembly (ANR) and lasted until February 1990. The High Council of the Republic was formed in February 1990 to democratize the country and was chaired by Archbishop Isidore de Souza. A new constitution was passed on 11 December 1990 which formed the basic structure of the current assembly.
The 83 members of the National assembly are directly elected by the people in a party-list proportional representation system, with 24 multi-member constituencies that are corresponding to the departments of Benin. Parties select as many candidates as there are seats to be filled, and vacancies are filled by substitutes. They serve five year terms, and the most recent election was in 2015. To be eligible to vote in Benin, a person must be at least 18 years old, a Beninese citizen, fully possess civil and political rights, and not be convicted of a crime that merits a punishment of three months in prison, in contempt of court, or have an undischarged bankruptcy. Each candidate for the Assembly must be at least 25 years of age, a resident of Benin for at least a year, and a Beninese citizen by birth or a naturalized immigrant who has resided in the country for at least ten years. Being convicted of electoral fraud or guardianship disqualifies a person from running.
In the 2015 election, Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin retained 33 seats. They were the main party supporting President Thomas Boni Yayi. The two largest opposition parties were the Union Makes the Nation (UN) with 13 seats and the Party for Democratic Renewal (PRD) with 10. Six MPs are female, while 77 are male. Coalition building is essential. The main political issue facing the Assembly in recent years has been a proposal to amend the Constitution to allow Presidents to serve more than two terms, which has failed to receive enough support.
Members of Parliament receive a salary of 193,291 francs per month with an additional allowance of 373,003 francs per month. MPs must attend plenary sittings and committee meetings. If an MP misses one third of meetings, he or she may receive a hefty fine and be suspended for up to a year.