Incumbent President James Michel first candidate to cast vote in Seychelles 2015 presidential elections
Incumbent James Michel casting his ballot. Michel is seeking a third and final term as the Seychelles president. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - 71- year-old incumbent James Michel who is bidding for his third and final mandate at the helm of the Seychelles government has already cast his ballot at the Bel Eau primary school in Bel Air, a central district of the main island of Mahé.
Michel a resident of the district was the first of the electoral area’s 2,413 registered voters to vote on the main polling day, in the 2015 Seychelles presidential elections, at around 7.15 am local time.
This was shortly after the station had opened its doors to the voters, once all the necessary formalities were completed.
Waiting in line was quite a number of voters, some of whom told SNA they had come down to wait for their turn to vote as early as 5.30 in the morning.
Speaking to the local press shortly after slotting his ballot paper into the ballot box, Michel said he has chosen to do so very early in the morning before going round to observe the process at the different electoral areas.
Nearly 71 thousand eligible Seychellois voters are being called to the polls this year, spread across 25 electoral districts on the three main inhabited islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Thursday and Friday were the first two days of voting for people living and working on some of the more remote islands as well as in several special stations catering for example for people who work in essential services and are on duty today as well as or detained persons, either in holding cells or prisoners awaiting trial.
Michel has expressed hope that the Seychellois people will be exercising their civic duty in peace and in all liberty, as he says have been the case over the last two days, after which they should await the results.
“It’s going to be a busy day...I will have to go round [to all the electoral districts] and naturally I expect the Seychellois people, in all wisdom, to make a good choice and keep the country on the path to progress and prosperity for the next five years,” Michel told the local press.
“I am confident that the people of Seychelles have trusted me with two mandates….and I am confident that they will give me a final five-year mandate to continue the work I have started.”
James Michel, the leader of the ruling Parti Lepep [People’s Party] has been at the helm of the Seychelles government since 2004, when the former President France Albert Rene who had been in power for 27 years handed over the presidency to him.
Michel went on to win the 2006 presidential elections obtaining 53.73 percent of the votes and again in 2011 winning 55.46 percent of the votes.
Since the establishment of the Third Republic, which saw the return of multi-party system in 1993, the ruling party has won every single presidential election in the first round.
The 2015 vote however, is one of the most highly contested, since the establishment of the third republic when the country adopted its current constitution in 1993, with a record number of six candidates standing.
Michel’s opponents include three first timers David Pierre, Patrick Pillay a former high-ranking figure within Parti Lepep and Alexia Amesbury also the first female presidential candidate, as well as two contenders who have stood a number of times; Wavel Ramkalawan and the sole independent candidate Philippe Boullé.