Seychelles: International observers call for reform of electoral commission and regular revision of voter register | Seychelles News Agency

International observers monitoring the Seychelles’ sixth National Assembly election have called for the reform of the electoral commission and regular revision of the voter register for a more credible election. Three international observer missions — SADC-Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM), Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC (ECF-SADC) and an all-women mission from the African Union — presented their preliminary reports Monday. “We find that there is a general lack of confidence in the electoral commission by a range of stakeholders, particularly the opposition and civil society,” said Augustine Mahiga, the head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission. Mahiga said that Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, should consider implementing policy measures to improve confidence in the electoral commission.

Seychelles: Opposition coalition wins National Assembly in historic electoral transition | Seychelles News Agency

An opposition coalition — Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) — has won parliamentary polls held in Seychelles, the Electoral Commission confirmed early Sunday. LDS has won majority votes in 15 of the 25 constituencies contested, while the ruling Parti Lepep took the remaining 10. It’s the first time since the return of multiparty democracy in Seychelles in 1993 that the ruling Parti Lepep has lost its majority in parliament. LDS is a coalition of four main parties including the Seychelles National Party (SNP) which boycotted the 2011 parliamentary polls. The leader of LDS Roger Mancienne said the result marks “a historic step” for the country. “It’s historic because it’s the first time that we have a transition of power in one of the branches of government – the legislature,” said Mancienne, adding that the transition had occured in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Seychelles: International, local observer missions gear up for parliamentary elections | Seychelles News Agency

Two international observer groups – the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) — have so far confirmed their presence in Seychelles for parliamentary elections set for September 8-10. Two local observer groups — Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles (CDWS) and the Association for Rights, Information and Democracy (ARID) — are also gearing up for the polls. Headed by the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine P Mahinga, the SADC observer mission was launched on Friday at the Avani resort on the western side of the Seychelles main island, Mahé. Dr Mahinga said that the SADC mission is being guided by the revised SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, adopted in 2015.

Seychelles: Electoral Commission strikes registration of two political parties following court order | Seychelles News Agency

The Seychelles Electoral Commission has announced its decision to strike the names of two political parties from the official registrar in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling delivered earlier on Tuesday. Supreme Court Judge Durai Karunakaran had given the Electoral Commission 24 hours to comply with a court order upholding a previous ruling prohibiting the registration of Linyon Sanzman and Lafors Sosyal Demokratik (LSD) as political parties. The decision comes barely two weeks before parliamentary elections set for September 8 to 10 on the island nation. Tuesday’s ruling mean only three parties – Parti Lepep, the Seychelles Patriotic Movement and Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, along with three independent candidates — will stand in the upcoming polls.

Seychelles: Court rejects presidential election petitions, validates President Michel’s win | Seychelles News Agancy

In an eagerly awaited verdict, the Seychelles Constitutional Court on Tuesday upheld President James Michel’s election win, rejecting an opposition party’s petitions to overturn the results of the December poll. The case against Michel’s election win was filed after a historical run-off contested by President Michel, also leader of the ruling Parti Lepep, and the leader of the Seychelles National Party, Wavel Ramkalawan. A difference of 193 votes separated the two candidates. Michel was declared the winner with 50.15 percent of the vote, while Ramkalawan won 49.85 percent of the vote, according to the Electoral Commission. Ramkalawan had petitioned the court to rule that none of the two candidates had obtained the absolute majority of the votes cast, and to nullify the results on the basis of irregularities committed and non-compliance to the electoral laws. Both petitions were directed at the Electoral Commission, President James Michel and the Attorney General. The Constitutional Court ruling comes two months after the parties in the case had made their final statements to the court.

Seychelles: Parliament Votes to Limit Presidential Term Limits | VoA News

Seychelles parliament voted on Tuesday to amend the archipelago’s constitution and limit presidents to two five-year terms in office, officials said, in contrast to wider Africa where many presidents have sought to extend term limits. The Indian Ocean island nation of 92,000 people elected James Michel as president in December 2015, giving him a third term in office, but among the promises he made during his campaign was to ensure the change in the law. The amendment required two thirds of the 32 lawmakers to vote in favor but all sitting members are from the ruling party except opposition leader David Pierre, who also supported the change.

Seychelles: Election Observers – Voter Education Should Be Improved |

One of the two Seychellois observer missions that monitored the run-off of the presidential elections earlier this month said Tuesday that civic and voter education needs to improve. The Citizenship Democracy Watch Seychelles (CDWS) said there is a need to improve voter education “to empower all eligible citizens to vote free from intimidation, threats, coercion and voter buying practices.” Seychelles held the second round of the presidential election this month. Incumbent president James Michel won 50.15 percent of the vote, winning a third and final five-year mandate.

Seychelles: Opposition to challenge presidential win in court | Business Standard

The opposition leader in the Seychelles said today he will appeal to the constitutional court to overturn election results after President James Michel won a second-round vote by the slimmest of margins. The announcement comes a day after Michel was sworn back into office for a third term at the presidential residence in Victoria, the capital on the Indian Ocean archipelago’s main island of Mahe, alongside his vice-president Danny Faure. The electoral commission said Saturday that Michel, 71, had won the second round of the election by just 193 votes — with 50.15 percent support against 49.85 percent for his rival Wavel Ramkalawan.

Seychelles: Voting starts in presidential run-off | AFP

Victoria (Seychelles) (AFP) – Residents in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles voted Thursday, the second of three days of polls, with incumbent president James Michel facing the first serious challenge to his decade-long rule. Michel, 71, who is seeking a third five-year term, was forced into a second-round run-off against opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan after falling short of an outright majority in the first round in early December, winning just under 48 percent. Ramkalawan, 54, an Anglican priest who took 34 percent of the vote on his fifth run at the country’s top job, now has the backing of the second runner-up, Patrick Pillay, a former foreign and health minister, who won almost 15 percent.

Seychelles: Voting starts in Seychelles presidential run-off | Reuters

The Seychelles voted on Wednesday in the second round of a presidential election in which incumbent James Michel is seeking a third term by touting the Indian Ocean archipelago’s economic expansion under his watch. It is the first time a run-off ballot is being held in Seychelles, where voting runs over three days because of huge distances between some of the 115 islands that are home to 93,000 people. Results are expected late on Friday. Michel, 71, who whose ruling Parti Lepep party, or People’s Party in Creole, has been in power for 38 years, is seen having an edge over Wavel Ramkalawan, a 54-year-old Anglican priest-turned-politician.

Seychelles: Electoral Commission Outlines Changes to Second Round of Presidential Vote |

Seychellois voters who cast ballots in the second round of the presidential vote next week may see more electoral workers at their polling station. The country’s electoral commission said Friday that it has discussed concerns after the first-round ballots were cast earlier this month. Election observers noted in their reports that some voters had to wait several hours in line before casting their ballots. The commission’s chief registration officer, Lorna Lepathy, said there would not be more polling stations for the second-round vote next week, but that more electoral officers would be placed at stations with a large number of voters.

Seychelles: Observers Say Vote ‘Peaceful, Orderly,’ but Long Lines, Register Should Be Improved |

The two Seychellois observer missions that monitored the first round of the presidential elections this month say some residents could not cast ballots because of problems with the vote register. The problems with the voter rolls resulted in some registered voters being turned away, “impacting the fairness and credibility of the current voters’ roll,” Jules Hoareau, deputy chief of mission for the Association for Rights Information and Democracy, said at a news conference Wednesday. That analysis echoed a report released Monday from Citizens for Democracy Watch Seychelles. “Some voters were unable to cast their ballot because their names did not appear on the voters’ register or on the approved supplementary list of voters in special voting stations,” said Eline Moise, CDWS’ chairwoman.

Seychelles: Run-Off Election Set After Inconclusive Presidential Poll |

Seychelles is set for a run-off on 16-18 December after no presidential candidate amassed enough votes to be declared outright winner following elections held in early December. According to final results announced by the island nation’s Electoral Commission, incumbent President James Michel of the Parti Lepep and Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party led the first round of presidential polls, with 47.76 and 33.93 percent of the vote, respectively. The President in Seychelles is elected by an absolute majority vote to serve a five-year term. However, if no candidate receives at least 50 percent plus one vote, a second round of voting is conducted involving the top two contestants, and the winner of this round is declared elected.

Seychelles: Seychelles heads for an election runoff | News24

The Seychelles will go to an unprecedented presidential election runoff after all six candidates in the first round failed to secure a 50 percent share of the vote, the electoral commission said on Sunday. “We will have to go into a second round,” said Hendrick Gappy, chairperson of the Seychelles Electoral Commission. The next vote begins on December 16. The Indian Ocean archipelago nation of 115 islands and 93 000 people went to the polls to pick a new president on December 3 in the three-day vote.

Seychelles: Presidential race heads into second round | Reuters

The Seychelles will go into a presidential election runoff on Dec. 16 after all the six candidates in the first round failed to secure a 50 percent share of the vote, the chairman of the electoral commission said on Sunday. The Indian Ocean archipelago nation of 115 islands and 93,000 people went to the polls to pick a new president on Dec. 3 in the three-day vote. The incumbent President James Michel, 71, won 47.76 percent of the 62,004 votes that were cast, while his closest challenger, Wavel Ramkalawan, a 54-year old Anglican priest, scored 33.93 percent. “We will have to go into a second round,” said Hendrick Gappy, the chairman of the Seychelles Electoral Commission.

Seychelles: Voting starts in Seychelles presidential poll | AFP

The Seychelles began voting in a presidential election Thursday, with remote islanders the first to cast ballots in a race that sees incumbent James Michel facing a serious challenge for the first time after two terms in office. Voters on the tiny far-flung rocky island of D’Arros, some 255 kilometres (160 miles) southwest of the main island Mahe, were among the first to vote in the three-day poll, election officials said. The tourism-dependent Indian Ocean archipelago, a former British colony, is made up of 115 islands, some as many as 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from Mahe. “We have received confirmation that D’Arros has finished voting, and the plane is returning back to Mahe,” said Charles Morin, the chief electoral officer.

Seychelles: Presidential race starts, economy in focus | Reuters

The Seychelles began three days of voting on Thursday in a presidential election in which the incumbent’s bid for a third term has been challenged by a rival who says economic growth on the Indian Ocean archipelago has favoured the rich. The nation of 115 islands and 93,000 people relies on tourism but also has expanding fisheries and financial services industries. The economy is forecast to expand by more than 4 percent in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund. “People, especially the thriving business community, appreciate the big turnaround in our national economy,” incumbent James Michel, 71, told the Nation newspaper this week in an interview published on its website.

Seychelles: Supreme Court Dismisses Electoral Commission’s Petition to Re-Open Register to Fix Anomalies – Presidential Contenders Agree Supplementary Voters List |

The Seychelles Electoral Commission has indicated that a supplementary list of voters will be prepared for the upcoming elections to be held from December 3 to 5, 2015, so as not to disenfranchise 44 Seychellois voters due to some anomalies found on the certified Register of Voters that will be used for the elections. The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy said this during a press interview late this evening after meeting with members of the political parties; the presidential candidates themselves or their representatives to discuss the matter. The urgent meeting to discuss the preparation of a supplementary list came after the Seychelles Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by the Electoral Commission asking for the voters register to be re-opened to accommodate “clerical errors and oversights” discovered after the closure of the register.

Seychelles: Six candidates approved for presidential polls | AFP

The Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles has approved six candidates including incumbent leader James Michel to run in presidential polls next month, the election commission has said. The commission’s approval on Wednesday formally opened nearly three weeks of campaigning, with voting to begin on December 3. Michel, of the Parti Lepep – “The People” in the local Seychellois Creole language – is hoping to win a third and final term, as permitted by the constitution.

Seychelles: Electoral Commission, again affronted by Opposition Alliance | The People

The electoral commission, headed by its Chairman, Mr.  Hendricks Gappy handed a copy of the Electoral Review program, which is aimed at strengthening and consolidating democracy in Seychelles, to the Head of State at State House. After that the Commission met with political parties to discuss the same subject.

The Opposition alliance led by SNP refused to attend the discussion, as usual they were not happy with what was being presented. The Commission replied by saying that it was unfortunate that SNP would think such things especially since they were not even aware what’s in the roadmap. Then we heard about Christopher Gill also not attending the meeting but he has made it a point to say that it was not for the same reasons as the Opposition alliance.

Seychelles: President to Schedule Electoral Reforms After Victory | Businessweek

Seychelles President James Michel said electoral reforms will soon be on the agenda in an announcement after his People’s Party won all 25 seats in the Indian Ocean island nation’s parliamentary elections held over three days. The Electoral Commission will start national consultations on the reforms, Michel said in a statement on television today.

The Seychelles National Party, led by Wavel Ramkalawan, pulled out of the vote, accusing the government of reneging on an earlier a promise of political reform. The election was a sham and an undemocratic process, Ramkalawan said by telephone today.

Seychelles: Seychelles election time: new party, new game? |

With the general election just a few weeks away now, Seychelles politics are set to change as a new political party, the Popular Democratic Party, is entering the main arena of an election fight for the first time. Long-time opposition leader, Wavel Ramkalawan, following his significant defeat in the May presidential elections, virtually threw in the towel soon afterwards, and in an act of defiance, seems to have propelled his own party, the SNP, into the abyss, too.

First refusing to take part in the declaration of election results, he then went on to stop attending parliamentary proceedings and compelling his party’s assembly members to follow his example, culminating in his declaration that the SNP, as if a piece of personal property, would not participate in the next round of parliamentary elections at all. This resulted in taking the one major opposition to the ruling party, LEPEP, out of the equation, this did not go down well with many of his followers who now doubt not only his wisdom but his rationale and motive.

Seychelles: First ever Electoral Commission sworn into office

The Seychelles Electoral Commission Chairman, Hendrick Gappy, and three of its members – Bernard Elizabeth, Beatty Hoarau, and Marie-Thérèse Purvis – have been sworn into office at State House Tuesday morning, August 2. They took their Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution and their Oath of Office in the presence of the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. James Michel.

The ceremony was attended by the Vice-President Danny Faure, the former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Patrick Herminie, the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Frederick Egonda-Ntende, the President of the Court of Appeal Francis MacGregor, and the Attorney General Ronny Govinden. President Michel congratulated the chairman and members of the Electoral Commission on the start of their new functions, as the first constitutional body of its kind.

Seychelles: Seychelles President Appoints Electoral Commission |

Seychelles President James Michel has appointed a five-member Electoral Commission, including its chairman, Hendricks Gappy, in preparation for the fresh legislature election, according to news reaching here on Saturday.

In a press communique released by State House on Friday afternoon, Gappy, a statistician and former Electoral Commissioner, along with other four members were appointed by the Head of State for a term of seven years effective from July 28. Other members include businessmen Betty Hoareau and Gerard Lafortune, educationalist Marie-Therese Purvis and Bernard Elizabeth who heads the umbrella body of the Non-Governmental Organizations, LUNGOS.

Seychelles: New Bill For Larger Seychelles Electoral Commission |

A revised constitution amendment bill for the creation of an electoral commission, to replace the electoral commissioner, is now for five members instead of three, to be proposed by the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) and submitted to the President for appointment.

The Constitutional Review Committee’s Report of December 2009, addressed to the President of the Republic, had recommended that Article 115 of the Constitution be amended to provide for an electoral commission comprising three members, as opposed to the existing office of the Electoral Commissioner.

Seychelles: Cabinet For The Creation Of An Electoral Commission in The Seychelles |

The Cabinet of Ministers has resolved to present the amendments to the Constitution and amendments to the Elections Act to the National Assembly in order to create an Electoral Commission. The amendments will be debated in the National Assembly on 28th June.

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution gives provisions to Article 115 for the creation of an Electoral Commission of three members, of which one is a chairman. The Commission would be appointed in the same manner as the Constitutional Appointments Authority in order to ensure its independence and the fairness in appointment of members.