Vote 'peaceful, orderly,' but long lines, register should be improved, Seychelles observers say
Voters queuing on Saturday night in the Anse Boileau District. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The two Seychellois observer missions that monitored the first round of the presidential elections this month say some residents could not cast ballots because of problems with the vote register.
The problems with the voter rolls resulted in some registered voters being turned away, “impacting the fairness and credibility of the current voters’ roll,” Jules Hoareau, deputy chief of mission for the Association for Rights Information and Democracy, said at a news conference Wednesday.
That analysis echoed a report released Monday from Citizens for Democracy Watch Seychelles. “Some voters were unable to cast their ballot because their names did not appear on the voters’ register or on the approved supplementary list of voters in special voting stations,” said Eline Moise, CDWS’ chairwoman.
Six candidates vied to become president of Seychelles, an island nation in the western Indian Ocean, during the December 3-5 vote. None won more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing the top two vote-getters — incumbent President James Michel and former parliamentarian Wavel Ramkalawan — into a second-round vote next week December 16-18.
The local election observer missions said that although voting started in all polling areas on time at 7 a.m., voting procedures, including the verification of voters and the marking of fingers, were not consistent.
CDWS noted that some voters had to stand in line for more than three hours. The two missions said the counting of ballot papers started late in some stations.
Like some of the six international observer missions that shared their findings on the first round voting on Monday, ARID recommended that the number of polling stations be increased in districts with large populations.
Both ARID and CDWS said the election was peaceful and orderly and that the citizens of Seychelles readily expressed their will and exercised their right to vote. That echoed the general finding by the international observers of an “orderly, peaceful and transparent” vote.
CDWS, established in 2011, was observing its second election following the parliamentary election in 2011. ARID, which was set up in June, conducted its first observation.
Michel won 28,911 votes, or 47.76 percent in the first-round vote, while Ramkalawan won 21,391, or 35.33 percent. Michel represents the Parti Lepep. Ramkalawan is the leader of the Seychelles National Party.