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SONA: Seychelles' President promises changes to Constitution concerning elections and presidential powers 

Victoria, Seychelles | February 22, 2024, Thursday @ 20:28 in National » GENERAL | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 7236
SONA: Seychelles' President promises changes to Constitution concerning elections and presidential powers 

Ramkalwan started his address by saying that the State of the Nation Address "is a moment to talk about what is going on in our country." (National Assembly YouTube)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - A bill for the 11th amendment to the Constitution of Seychelles pertaining to elections and presidential immunity will be presented to the National Assembly this year, said President Wavel Ramkalawan in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

Ramkalwan started his address by saying that the State of the Nation Address "is a moment to talk about what is going on in our country, tell the truth and together see where we are, what is going on and how we can move forward much more."

When speaking about democracy, he said that the National Assembly will be asked to approve the 11th amendment to the Constitution, which is to have fixed dates for elections in Seychelles.

Ramaklawan said that anything that has to do with the immunity a president has when leaving office will be removed as well as the article that gives the president the possibility to resign and then call an election and stand again.  

"If a president resigns it means he is out and new elections will be held. We will also redefine in what instances a Vice President can continue the mandate of an elected president and when new elections will take place," he added.

The President spoke about the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission (TRNUC) and the final report submitted to him in March last year.

"Like the report of the TRNUC is asking as the head of state, I want to present Seychelles' apologies to all the victims. I want to express regret for all that has happened, and all the suffering that our people went through during those dark years. Let us move forward towards unity, reconciliation, and the truth always," he added.

He said that some of the recommendations are already being looked at like amendment to the State Land Rivers Act through which certain lands that have not been developed can be returned to their original owners.

"There are other elements in the report that we will soon put in application but I know that the biggest subject is the subject of compensation and one of the biggest hurdles for this government is the amount, which is huge, so we will need to think about other rationales on how we can compensate the victims," said Ramkalawan.

He said that in total, the government has paid SCR 54.1 million ($4 million) for the work of the TRNUC.

He announced that soon Seychellois living in England, France and the United Arab Emirates will be able to get their biometric passports and there will soon be an online facility available for Seychellois to get their birth, marriage, death certificates, and others.

Ramkalawan spoke about some of the major projects that will start this year namely, the extension of Port Victoria and the redevelopment of Seychelles International Airport, of which the masterplan is being finalised.

He said that all the things he talked about depend on the economy and in 2023 the economic growth was 3.3 percent.

The President said that the tourism industry, which is the top pillar of the Seychelles economy,  is doing well and the figures for February showed an increase of 17 percent in visitor arrivals.

"This year, there are negotiations taking place to have more airlines offering direct flights to Seychelles," he added.    

The two leaders in the National Assembly will respond to the State of the Nation address on Tuesday.

Both the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and the United Seychelles (US) party have a new female proportionate member.

Anne Bistoquet for LDS and Rachel Spiro for US were sworn in on Thursday in the official opening of the National Assembly for 2024. 

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Tags: National Assembly, TRNUC, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, United Seychelles

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