Three days of peaceful voting came to an end yesterday evening at 7:00 pm across the inner islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue, after all other islands had their voting carried out during the two previous days.
As expected and as witnessed personally at the end of May during the presidential elections, the conduct by the electorate was mature and no incidents of substance were reported from anywhere across the islands.
The general election became necessary when the previous parliament dissolved itself amid much controversy over the then opposition attempting to block parliamentary proceedings through a boycott and then failed to participate in the 2011 General Election. A new opposition party was swiftly formed by dissenters previously part of the SNP, but with little time to prepare for an election campaign, eventually failed to capture a single elective seat from the 25 constituencies nor apparently gathered enough votes to claim some of the proportional seats otherwise available. Party LEPEP of President Michel captured all elective seats in the new assembly with a voter turnout of 74.3 percent.
The result, while celebrated among Party LEPEP supporters, leaves democracy in the Seychelles somewhat poorer than before, as opposition within parliament is now absent and will have to find another platform to participate in public affairs. President Michel congratulated the leader of the sole opposition party participating in the election, David Pierre of the Popular Democratic Movement, for his efforts and maturity in being part of the democratic process and giving a voice to opposition views.
The Parti Lepep has won all the seats of the 25 districts in the National Assembly elections, according to an announcement by the Electoral Commission today. The Electoral Commission said that the Popular Democratic Movement did not gain enough votes to obtain proportional seats.
“The result is the expression of the majority of the Seychellois people… the voice of the people and the choice of the people has spoken… We have a victory, but at the same time we wished that the opposition gained some seats in order to encourage more debate. While this has not happened, my party will remain committed to engaging the population in a consultative manner for the democratic development of our country,” said President James Michel, leader of Parti Lepep, following the announcement of the results.
President Michel congratulated the elected members of his party for their victory and asked them to make an extra effort to consult their constituents in the legislative work that they will undertake.
“We will work hard in our diversity of opinions, and we will work together to forge further our national unity for a new Seychelles… Our elected members need to be visionary in their work for the wellbeing of the people and stay connected with them as much as possible,” President Michel said.
Full results from each constituency will be available by mid-day Sunday. Congratulations to the winning team and to the opposition – a call to take heart as there will always be another opportunity to do better in the future.
Meanwhile a message was received from one of two close acquaintances presently on holiday on Mahe, who said: ”One would simply not have known about these elections but for the posters and headlines and articles in the local papers Nation and Today, which we get in the hotel. Of course, I don’t listen to the local radio stations or watch local TV, so I could not say what was on air. But unlike at home in Britain where elections are marked by big rallies and high visibility of candidates and parties, here it was just another day in paradise. I know you keep reminding me that Seychelles is part of Africa but to be honest, going for a holiday to Africa during elections is really not a good idea, but here in Seychelles it was just business as usual.”
Seychelles - truly ”another world.”