Electoral boundaries review: Seychelles' parliament approves new technical committee
The National Assembly building. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles' National Assembly has approved the setting up of a technical committee by the Electoral Commission to advise and assist in the task of reviewing electoral boundaries.
Eighteen members of the ruling Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) party voted for the proposed Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 on Wednesday, in the absence of the members of the United Seychelles (US) opposition party, whose members walked out.
In his statement after the completion of debates, Vice President Ahmed Afif said that the amendment will bring more clarity in the way that the Electoral Commission will work under Articles 112 and 116 of the Seychelles Constitution.
"The committee will be technical in nature and among other things look at the statistics, the facts that show the new reality on the ground such as new construction and the population size of electoral districts. Once this is done the Electoral Commission can start the exercise of reviewing the boundaries," said Afif.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Sebastien Pillay, said that "United Seychelles has no problems with the delimitation of electoral boundaries" but presented his side's concern on various developments, accusing the government of trying to steal the next elections through this exercise. He said that "today we do not trust what is going on. [...] It is for this reason that we are exercising our privilege under our Standing Orders and will not participate in this debate. We will be back when the debate on the subject ends."
While LDS members supported the amendment and gave various reasons why they did, some US members questioned if the timing of the bill was not politically motivated.
Afif said that the law about the boundaries is clear under Article 112 (3) and that the Electoral Commission will take several factors into consideration when reviewing the electoral boundaries.
"These include looking at present boundaries, present geographical characteristics of Seychelles and that each electoral district as much as is practical will have the same number of inhabitants," he said.
The Vice President added that the Commission will do its revision based on the technical submission of the committee, and all parties concerned will be involved in the discussions on the boundaries.
"I agree that politicians know their districts and their boundaries very well but we have to accept that politicians can be seen as having a political interest as to where the boundaries will pass. He added that political interest should not enter into such an exercise but that it does not prevent consultation," he added.