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US party's presidential candidate promises to bring social justice for Seychellois people

Victoria, Seychelles | June 8, 2024, Saturday @ 08:26 in Editorial » THE INTERVIEW | By: Sharon Ernesta | Views: 3958
US party's presidential candidate promises to bring social justice for Seychellois people

Dr Patrick Herminie is the presidential candidate for the election to be held on September 27, 2025. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - On June 2, United Seychelles (US), Seychelles' main opposition party, endorsed the nomination of the party's leader, Dr Patrick Herminie, as its presidential candidate for the election to be held on September 27, 2025, which will coincide with parliamentary elections.

The party congress coincided with the 60th anniversary since the formation of the Seychelles People's United Party (SPUP) on June 2, 1964, which was the original name of the US party. It was also later called the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) and Parti Lepep (PL) or The People's Party.

The party was formed by the late President France Albert Rene, who was the head of state from June 5, 1977, following a coup, until April 14, 2004.

Hermine, aged 60, is a former speaker of the National Assembly, as well as leader of government business in the same institution. In his earlier career,  after graduating with a doctorate in general medicine, he was first a medical officer and then later was appointed director general of Primary Health Care at the Ministry of Health, and in more recent years was the secretary of state for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation.

Herminie spoke to national media in a press conference after the congress about his plans and preparations for the upcoming elections.


Press: How did the congress go and were there any other candidates nominated alongside you for the nomination?

PH: No, it was not a nomination but rather a process which started in October last year, where we opened the door to whoever wanted to be a candidate for the president of the party as well for the National Assembly, anybody could fill up the necessary documents, but for the National Assembly all is completed but we will announce the nominations next year. As for the nomination for president, it was only me. Basically our constitution states that if there is only one nomination a resolution needs to be passed by the congress and the nominee automatically becomes the presidential candidate.

United Seychelles 37th congress was held on Sunday June 2nd. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY  Photo License: CC-BY 


PressWhy the rush to do the nomination so early this year, since the election is next year and you have said that legislative nominations will be done next year?

PH: One is that it is symbolic as we are celebrating our 60th anniversary since our party was founded, personally I found it to be symbolic and appropriate to announce the nomination today and put an end once and for all, to the million speculation as of who is going to be the next candidate. The process is completed for the presidential candidate and the congress has approved my nomination, as for the members of the parliament there will be an extraordinary congress next year and together we will also announce the running mate.


PressWhy was a resolution needed today for this nomination?

PH: We in the opposition, we recognised that we were divided at two different times, with the creation of Lalyans [party] and then during the last election we were not united, basically there were two camps. We are convinced that with unity, which by the way we have now in the party, all the different camps, the different groups we are now back together. Back in 1998, 2003 we were winning elections with 55, 56 and even 61 percent, so if we all unite, then this is clear, we have the numbers to win the election next year.


Press: In terms of who you are, what can the people expect in terms of who their candidate is, who is this next president who you say will be at the State House next year?

PH:  I am a member of the US party, I have been a supporter and the way I have grown I have some principles that I believe in. I am a politician by conviction. I am not in politics just for its sake, but I am in politics by conviction. There are basic principles that I sincerely believe in. Like I have spoken on social justice, people at the centre of development, dignity for our people, opportunities for our youth, irrespective where you are from, your race, your religion, you can become who you want to be in Seychelles.

And this is one reason which has pushed me to stand, understand, to break the thinking that Herminie cannot become president. And with these values, today with liberal system a lot of these values are being destroyed, with our assets be it in education, health and wealth distribution, we have much more poverty today. That we had four years ago. You know when I announced my candidature it was necessary to have a part which would resist these tendencies and re-introduce basic principles but with modernity, technology and others for us to achieve what we want to achieve, prosperity for all Seychellois, especially, we know that in all countries there is poverty, but the middle class should be significant and it was significant in 2019 but today it is diminishing slowly and it is my responsibility to defend the most vulnerable and the weakest of our society.


Press: With your endorsement, isn't the party choosing a man, rather than choosing a programme?

PH: We do have a programme, a complete programme which is ready, but as you know LDS is a party which does not have a programme in government. This is why often on issues to do with tax or policies they took is changed as they are a chameleon government. So if we now come out with our programme, there is a big possibility that they will take our programme, but our programme is one that is very progressive and it is a programme that all Seychellois will see themselves eetatin it. It is all about timing and when the time is appropriate we will launch our programme.


Herminie at the party's rally at Anse Aux Pins. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY  Photo License: CC-BY 


Press: One year to go, will you be able to keep this momentum, bearing in mind other parties?

PH: There are reasons why other parties have not started, we have one more year, mind you we have been holding on for three and a half years amidst a lot of difficulties. In 2021, if you realise we were a party on the verge of collapsing and we brought the party to where it is standing today, and maybe one year is not enough. We have a formidable strategy for campaigning and we have only one year but in politics one year is not a lot of time.


Press: Why not announce the nomination for Vice President as well?

PH: We have discussed the same lengthily, even with our past leaders, and we looked at the merits of announcing both. We do have a candidate. But we decided to prevent all the pressures on the candidate and affect the presidency, we felt that next year is more appropriate. But rest assured United Seychelles is ready and has all their candidates and even if something happens to me, there is someone else.


Press: What does this early nomination mean in terms of the advantage it will bring for you?

PH: We want the community, not only locally but internationally, be it groups or NGOs to see that we have a presidential candidate and ready for the presidential elections. Support from the community is crucial and shows that we are a serious political party. With other parties there is a lot of talk but none of them are audacious enough to announce their presidential candidate. Another advantage is that it shows that we are a party which is ready, in order, united, our structures are functioning. There is no other party in Seychelles which is organised the way we are.


Press: Referring to TRNUC [editor's note: The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission concerning events following the coup of 1977 and later cases of human rights abuse] and the fact that today you recognised Albert Rene [editor's note: as the party founder], whose name was frequently associated with atrocities reported in TRNUC, what can you say on the issue of national unity?

PH: We are ready to meet and discuss with TRNUC, and even with victims, we will meet with them as we believe there are some merits. But there are a lot of exaggerations. We recognise today if 90 percent of people have a house and land it is thanks to Mr Rene and through land acquisition. But TRNUC was also being used as a political weapon. But we are ready to meet with victims to remove the bitterness.


Press: Is United Seychelles ready to publish the whole list of perpetrators? Or even form an independent enquiry?

PH: One regarding the incident of CCCL Cascade, we know what has happened and we do have information on what has happened and we know that the government knows of what has happened. So, we are prepared to set up an independent enquiry, right after we come in power [editor's note: an enormous explosion at CCCL company at Providence on December 7, 2023, caused a major disaster at the Providence Industrial Estate and homes at Cascade district]. As for the TRNUC report and the whole list of perpetrators, we think that the same should have been published a long time ago. We will publish this list.


Press: Do you think that you are popular enough to win the elections?

PH: I have been in politics for 30 odd years.  The fact that I have been in politics for all these years is the insurance I need to stand in the next elections.  

United Seychelles supporters at the party's rally at Anse Aux Pins. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY  Photo License: CC-BY  


Press: What is the plan for the next three months?

PH: We will intensify our campaign, we have two major events this year and every two weeks, we will have a blitz, we have door to door visits every week, a monthly blitz by district structures every month. Believe me, we have a clear programme.


Press: Will you respect and support the media once president?

PH: Yes, but if I attack the media it is because I want the media to be independent. ... But we believe that we will respect the media because we are strong and ready for debates...This is how I was politically brought up. What I can tell you today, I believe that when it comes to freedom of expression, the administration run by President [Wavel] Ramkalawan is worse than under the administration of President [Danny] Faure [editor's note: Danny Faure was president between 2016 and 2020 under the Parti Lepep administration. Wavel Ramkalawan is the current President of Seychelles representing the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) party]. 

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Tags: Seychelles People's United Party, United Seychelles, Seychelles People's Progressive Front, Parti Lepep

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