Seychelles presidential race: electoral commission set to announce election date on Thursday
The historic State House building, where the president of Seychelles is based (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - It is on Thursday this week that people in Seychelles will be made aware the exact date the upcoming presidential elections will be held in the Indian Ocean island nation.
“The Office of the Electoral Commission will announce the election date and nomination day for Presidential candidates on Thursday 8th October 2015,” reads a press statement issued last Friday.
This followed a televised broadcast on national television, in which the Seychelles President James Michel announced his intention to call the presidential elections.
The Electoral Commission has 90 days starting last Friday after the publication of the proclamation in the Official Gazette to organize the process.
The last presidential election in archipelago of 115 islands was held in May 2011. According to the country’s constitutional requirements, the next presidential election should be organised within 90 days after January 2016, although the Head of State can call early presidential elections, according to the 5th amendment of the Seychelles constitution.
Michel’s call for the elections means the polls will now be held before the end of this year.
The incumbent President, who will be standing for the ruling party ‘Parti Lepep’ is currently the only candidate who has been endorsed by his party.
Michel will be seeking his third and final term of five years in office as stipulated by the country’s constitution.
Aside of the ruling party, there are seven officially registered opposition parties in the Indian Ocean country with a population of around 93,000 inhabitants.
The Seychelles National Party, SNP, has not succeeded in its efforts to rally all the opposition parties to form an alliance for the first round of voting.
"Last Friday, I tried to rally the other opposition parties behind a single candidate, but they did not accept," the SNP leader Wavel Ramkalawan told SNA.
For several days the opposition parties have been meeting discreetly but have failed to agree on the choice of a presidential candidate.
"The Seychellois Alliance 'Lalyans Seselwa' was not in favour of an SNP candidate standing as the presidential candidate and a ‘Lalyans Seselwa’ candidate as the running mate,” added Ramkalawan.
The Seychellois Alliance party led by a former government minister Patrick Pillay, confirmed to the SNA that there were disagreements between the opposition parties when deciding on a single candidate to represent all of them.
"The ‘Lalyans seselwa’ (Seychellois Alliance’s) presidential candidate is Patrick Pillay and the vice president candidate is Ahmed Afif. If other parties want to join us, the door remains open," the party leader Patrick Pillay said to SNA.
Pillay noted however that the ‘Seychelles United Party’(SUP) is the only one that has decided to join the Seychellois Alliance camp.
As for the ‘Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy’ (SPSJD) which is led by lawyer Alexia Amesbury, who is also first ever female candidate to run for the post of President of Seychelles, confirmed to the SNA in May that she intended to participate alone in the upcoming election.
Seychellois lawyer Philippe Boullé has also indicated that he will participate in his fourth consecutive Seychelles presidential election as an independent candidate.
SNP has indicated that it will be holding its convention in the next two weeks to choose its presidential and Vice President candidates.
"The only agreement we have managed to reach is that should there be a second round, then all opposition parties will rally behind one candidate," the SNP leader told SNA.
Patrick Pillay, although he does not believe that the election will go into a second round and believes he will win the elections in the first round, confirmed that he will rally behind one candidate should there be a second round.
Since the beginning of the Third Republic in 1993 when the country adopted its present constitution, the ruling party has won every presidential election in the first round with a score higher than 54%.
For its part, the Seychellois Alliance party has indicated that it has not set its calendar of events in preparation for the upcoming presidential elections as it awaits the response to a letter addressed to the Electoral Commission’s office concerning the voters register it believes “is not credible."
The party is among five opposition parties that have requested an urgent meeting with the Electoral Commission to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, the office of the Electoral Commission has already announced that the voters’ registration will be closed on Thursday October 8, after the presidential election process is completed.