James Michel secures third term winning 50.15 percent votes in Seychelles presidential run-off
The Seychelles Electoral Commission has declared that James Michel is the winner of the Seychelles 2015 presidential election. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Results of one of the most ‘closely fought’ and ‘historic’ presidential election in Seychelles' history were made known in the early hours of this Saturday morning after three days of voting.
The island nation's incumbent President James Michel has secured a third and final mandate at the helm of the Indian Ocean archipelago's government winning 50.15 percent of the total votes cast.
Michel has won 31,512 of the votes while his opponent the Seychelles National Party leader Wavel Ramkalawan has won 31, 319 or 49.85 percent of the votes.
This means only 193 votes separate the two candidates who have contested the second round after coming out ahead in the first round. Michel won 47.76 percent and Ramkalawan 35.33 percent of the votes in the first round two weeks ago.
Announcing the much awaited results at the National Cultural Centre in Victoria, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Hendrick Gappy called on all Seychelles citizens to “respect the results and to maintain a peaceful atmosphere.”
71-year-old Michel, the leader of the ruling Parti Lepep [People’s Party] has been in power since 2004 when the former President France Albert Rene who had been in power for 27 years handed over the presidency to him.
He then 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.
The 2015 presidential elections is nevertheless ‘historic’ as it’s the first time since the establishment of the Third Republic, which saw the return of multi-party system in 1993, that there is a run-off presidential election.
None of six candidates who contested the first round of voting from December 3 to 5, 2015 managed to secure 50 percent plus one votes required for an outright majority.
Of Seychelles 93,000 people, 70,943 were eligible to vote in both rounds. A total of 63, 893 have taken part in the run-off vote.
This puts the level of participation at 90.06 percent compared to 62,004 or 87.4 percent in the first round two weeks ago.
Of the 63, 893 votes cast, 62,831 were in favour of the two candidates and the remaining 1,062 votes account for rejected ballots.
"Today the people have spoken and the people have made a decision and the people have said that they would like for me to pursue the work started... to bring Seychelles forward in stability, peace and prosperity,” said Michel while addressing guests at the Electoral Commission’s Headquarters this morning.
The announcement of the results was broadcast live on national television, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, SBC.
“The election has tested the maturity of our democracy. We’ve had two rounds of voting, the first time we did not achieve 50 percent but now in the second round we have secured the 50 percent,” said Michel.
The president elect has also called for more unity and also asked that celebrations of his party’s victory in a motorcade to be held later this afternoon are done in a peaceful manner.
For his part, Ramkalawan has spoken of 'several irregularities' including 'complaints of money being handed out to voters' and ‘publications in some media’ which he said were not appropriate during the days leading up to the election.
“For these reasons and many others I would like to declare that we do not accept the results of the elections because we thought we were participating in an election but it turned out to be an auction,” said Ramkalawan describing the outcome of the vote as 'fifty-fifty'.
“We’ve already handed a letter to Mr Gappy as the chairman of the Electoral Commission, first of all asking for a recount of the votes…” he added while calling on the opposition supporters to remain calm and peaceful and to refrain from provocations.
Ramkalawan was being backed in the second round under the banner of ‘Union for Change’ by three other candidates who contested the first round of voting, Patrick Pillay, Alexcia Amesbury and Philipe Boule.
Story updated at 1.50 p.m. Saturday December 19.