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Seychelles parliament amends elections act; Ile Perseverance voters to vote in former district in upcoming elections

Victoria, Seychelles | June 14, 2016, Tuesday @ 21:40 in National » GENERAL | By: Patsy Athanase and Sharon Uranie | Views: 1879
Seychelles parliament amends elections act; Ile Perseverance voters to vote in former district in upcoming elections

Housing units at Ile Perseverance. Residents of the area which will only become an electoral district upon the dissolution of the National Assembly will be voting in their former district come the next parliamentary elections. (Glenn Pillay Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles National Assembly on Tuesday amended the elections act to allow eligible voters of Ile Perseverance to cast ballots in upcoming parliamentary elections.

As Ile Perseverance is yet to become an electoral area, the amendments allow those residents to vote in their former district. There is also provision for them to vote again within a year to elect their own representative in the assembly.

Ile Perseverance – a reclaimed island where the largest social housing project is being built -- will become the 26th electoral district in Seychelles, but only upon the dissolution of the current National Assembly.

The current assembly's mandate ends on October 11.

Seychelles’ Vice President Danny Faure explained to parliamentarians that the two amendments to the elections act were aimed at preventing “the Ile Perseverance electorates from being disenfranchised.”

“Let us allow the residents of Ile Perseverance to exercise their right to vote, and once their district becomes an electoral area with the dissolution of the National Assembly, let’s not make them wait five years to appoint their member of parliament, but allow them to do that in a year’s time,” said Faure.

Parliamentary polls in Seychelles are held every five years and are due later this year. The last elections took place between September 29 and October 1, 2011.

Presently, Seychelles – a 115-iland archipelago in the western Indian Ocean -- has 25 electoral areas. A motion proposing that Ile Perseverance becomes a new electoral area was approved by the National Assembly in October last year. 

The Electoral Commission has said that new elections will be held anytime between June 11 and September 11 in accordance with the timetable set forth in the constitution. 

This means that residents of Ile Perseverance will not have met the requirements of the elections act, which states that residents should have resided for three months in an electoral area for their names to be on the voters’ register of that particular electoral district. The assembly has to be dissolved before an area can officially become an electoral area.

Once completed the Ile Perseverance housing project will have some 2000 housing units, divided into two districts.

The opposition coalition, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, LDS, or the ‘Seychellois Democratic Alliance’ -- a party formed in April by members from four existing opposition parties -- has criticized the bill, saying it will allow a person to vote twice in two different electoral areas.

LDS is not represented in the assembly -- the Seychelles National Party, one of the main opposition parties boycotted the 2011 parliamentary polls.

LDS, which organised a protest march on Saturday calling on the National Assembly not to approve the amendments to the elections act, said on Monday that it will be taking the matter to the Constitutional Court.

LDS is calling for amendments to the elections act to enable the timely compilation of a voters register allowing residents to vote in the electoral area of Ile Perseverance in the upcoming National Assembly elections. 

Tuesday's approval of amendments to the elections act by the National Assembly will come into force after being assented by the president.

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Tags: Elections Act, Vice President Danny Faure, Ile Perseverance, National Assembly, parliamentary elections

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