Seychelles Supreme Court dismisses Electoral Commission’s petition to re-open register to fix anomalies - presidential contenders agree supplementary voters list
The Electoral Commission has met with the candidates and in some cases their representatives to agree a supplementary voters list so as not to disenfranchise some 44 Seychellois voters affected by anomalies spotted on the Voter's Register for the upcoming presidential elections. (Electoral Commission)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Electoral Commission has indicated that a supplementary list of voters will be prepared for the upcoming elections to be held from December 3 to 5, 2015, so as not to disenfranchise 44 Seychellois voters due to some anomalies found on the certified Register of Voters that will be used for the elections.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy said this during a press interview late this evening after meeting with members of the political parties; the presidential candidates themselves or their representatives to discuss the matter.
The urgent meeting to discuss the preparation of a supplementary list came after the Seychelles Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by the Electoral Commission asking for the voters register to be re-opened to accommodate "clerical errors and oversights" discovered after the closure of the register.
In dismissing the Electoral Commissioner’s petition, the Chief Justice of the Seychelles Supreme Court, Mathilda Twomey said there is no provisions in the elections act, any other act or the constitution permitting the re-opening of the register once it is closed after election dates are announced and that there are equally no provisions for a supplementary list of voters in the Seychelles laws.
In her ruling, Twomey adds that while on one hand refusing the re-opening of the register for the rectifications to be made can disenfranchise the [44 voters], allowing it on the other hand, "opens the floodgates to other potential changes and seriously undermines the finality and certainty of the Register of Voters prior to the elections.”
“There is however one avenue still open…even at this late hour, that is, to seek the indulgence of the presidential candidates in agreeing a supplemental list of electors but this Court will not be part of such an agreement,” added Twomey as she dismissed the Electoral Commissioner’s petition.
The amended Elections Act of 2014 which came into effect in May this year, allows for year-round voter registration and inspection of the electoral roll. The new law also makes provision for the publication of a certified Register of Voters by March 31 each year, and in case of an election the register is closed on the day the election dates are announced, after which a revised voter’s register is certified and made available on nomination day.
In the case of the upcoming elections, the voters register was closed on October 8, when the initial dates of November 19, 20 and 21 were announced before this was changed to December 3, 4 and 5.
According to Gappy, the Electoral Commission had filed the case before the Supreme Court this week after it had detected the anomalies relating to over 40 entries from various electoral areas, while going over the master register. This was after the commission had received some queries from people whose names were not appearing on the register.
This relates to the names of five first time applicants whose names were processed but do not appear on the register, nine new applicants whose names appear in the wrong electoral area, fourteen transfer applicants whose names do not appear in their transferred electoral areas, fourteen applicants whose corrections to their surnames were not made on the register, two applicants whose surnames were corrected but their names appear blank as well as the names of the persons who are deemed to be aged 111 plus on the register.
“It was proposed by the Courts that we review the case with the political parties and representatives of the candidates so that a consensus can be made, if not to go ahead as is. But I am happy to say we met with all representatives this evening and they are all in agreement not to disenfranchise the voters…all application forms that were done; the original forms, we invited them to have a look to satisfy themselves that it was in accordance. After deliberations, all six of them agreed we should not disenfranchise the voters. A separate supplementary list will be prepared for the elections and for themselves to have a copy,” Gappy told journalists.
The Supplementary list will contain the rectifications made to fix the anomalies relating to 44 of the entries that were either not entered or wrongly entered on the register, while the two entries relating to the persons aged 111 plus are considered to be obsolete.
“Under the election laws it’s something called obsolete entries we have done various research we’ve visited the place where they’re supposed to have registered and nobody knows them….we contacted the civil status, they exist, they were born in Seychelles, we’ve contacted the immigration authorities they’ve not travelled….We contacted Social security, we had one case where one person was receiving an allowance until 2000. So as far as we’re concerned we’ve asked for them to be removed.”
Prior to this new development, on the day the candidacy of the six presidential hopefuls was confirmed, the Electoral Commission had indicated that the voters register featured the names of 70, 943 eligible Seychellois voters.