Seychelles votes in presidential polls

2015-12-05 14:49
Seychelles' incumbent President James Michel of the ruling party Lepep adresses supporters during the Presidential elections. (AFP)

Seychelles' incumbent President James Michel of the ruling party Lepep adresses supporters during the Presidential elections. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Victoria - The main islands of the Seychelles began voting on Saturday in a presidential election which sees incumbent James Michel facing his first serious challenge after two terms in office.

Although voting on more remote islands began on Thursday, the main vote takes place on Saturday, with polls opening at 07:00 (03:00 GMT) on the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, home to most of the archipelago's estimated 91 000 citizens. Voting ends 12 hours later.

Aside from a late start in several places, voting got under way smoothly in Mahe, the largest island of the Seychelles, where long lines of voters could be seen waiting to cast their ballots, an AFP correspondent said.

"I stood in line for nearly an hour before voting but once I got inside, it was very quick," said Jacqueline Hoarau after casting her ballot at Port Glaud on the island's north-western coast.

The tourism-dependent Indian Ocean nation, a former British colony, is made up of 115 islands, some as many as 1 000km from the capital Victoria on the main island Mahe.

"There are islands where it takes just 45 minutes... there are others where it lasts two hours, but what is important is that everyone can vote," said Charles Morin, the chief electoral officer, describing the marathon efforts to ensure all get a chance to vote across the vast expanse of the archipelago.

Fragmented opposition

The Electoral Commission, which has said around 4 000 voters were eligible to cast ballots on the first two days of voting, has said they were "generally satisfied" at the voting process, according to the Seychelles News Agency.

Michel, of the Parti Lepep - "The People" in the local Seychellois Creole language - hopes to win a third and final term, as permitted by the constitution, but faces five other candidates.

Michel, who has been in power for almost a decade, is running against a fragmented opposition, but observers say a run-off is possible for the first time since multi-party politics were reintroduced in 1993.

A second round would take place in one to two weeks' time.

Analysts say Michel faces only two real challengers: Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party, and Patrick Pillay of the Lalyans Seselwa (Seychellois Alliance), a former minister who defected from Michel's party.

Michel, who has been in power since 2006, has pledged to boost the economy and eradicate poverty, while Pillay has vowed to combat corruption in the Seychelles, long seen as a popular tax haven for the world's super rich.

Observer missions monitoring the polls include teams from the African Union, the Commonwealth and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), as well as domestic observers.

While the opposition is divided for the first round, they have promised to unite behind a single candidate to challenge Michel if the vote goes to a second round.

"In the past we had only one opposition party... maybe that one party could not do this on its own... but now we have many to do the work," said Alexia Amesbury, a 64-year-old Seychellois lawyer, and the country's first-ever female candidate.

Michel said he welcomed the challenge.

"The candidates are my political opponents and not enemies," he said.

Initial results are expected late on Saturday.

Tourism and fisheries are the main pillars of the island nation's economy, with the main export being canned tuna destined mainly for Europe.

Read more on:    seychelles  |  seychelles elections 2015  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.