Seychelles president wins polls

2006-07-31 11:19
Victoria - The president of the Seychelles Islands off the coast of eastern Africa won weekend presidential elections, extending the 30-year rule of the People's Progressive Front for another five years.

The electoral commission spokesperson Hendrick Gappy said on Monday that President James Michel won nearly 54% of the vote, while opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan got 46%.

Michel, the former vice-president, was appointed to the presidency in 2004 after longtime leader Albert Rene stepped down before the end of his term.

The People's Progressive Front had been in power since Rene led a bloodless coup in 1977. He restored multiparty democracy in 1993 and won three straight elections.

This former British colony of 90 000 people had some 115 islands in the Indian Ocean.

The weekend election focused on the country's debt-ridden economy, which depended on the fishing industry and upscale tourists who were drawn to the country's sandy beaches.

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