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.
His main rival, Wavel Ramkalawan, said in an interview with the same paper that the wealth gap was growing, the education system failing and drugs and other social ills rising.
“The income disparity has increased and many people are worse off financially than they were four years ago,” he said.
Ramkalawan and his Seychelles National Party also say no president should serve three terms, currently allowed by the constitution.