Seychelles' Supreme Court prohibits registration of two political parties, candidates ahead of legislative polls
The Seychelles' courts building 'Palais de Justice' at Ile du Port. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Electoral Commission said Thursday it will convene a meeting to take a decision on a Supreme Court ruling that comes three weeks before parliamentary elections prohibiting the registration of two political parties.
The two parties -- Lafors Sosyal Demokratik (LSD) and Linyon Sanzman -- had already teamed up and registered their candidates for the September 8-10 legislative polls in the island nation. The commission on Thursday afternoon received court documents ordering an “interim injunction.”
The orders were issued on Wednesday, the same day that LSD and three other parties were issued with certificates validating the registration of their candidates for the September polls.
A Linyon Sanzman official said his party would appeal the ruling; an LSD official said he was still studying the decision.
In his ruling Judge Durai Karunakaran also prohibits the commission from “accepting, approving or registering nomination of candidates” submitted by both parties “until further order of the court.”
Karunakaran’s ruling says the Electoral Commission should strike off and cancel any approval or registration of candidates of both parties that has “already been accepted, approved or registered.”
The orders relate to two petitions submitted to the court by the lawyer of another political party, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS).
The petitioner was asking for a ‘judicial review’ of the Electoral Commission’s decision to register LSD as a political party and to allow the use of the name Linyon Sanzman by another party.
LDS argues that the name Lafors Sosyal Demokratik (LSD) “is identical or so nearly resembles the name that of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS).”
The chairman and leader of LDS Roger Mancienne told SNA that the decisions are of great importance as they relate to the identity of the party vis-a-vis its followers.
“It’s not acceptable for a party to systematically try to mislead and confuse our supporters – firstly through Linyon Sanzman and then as LSD which is close to our party’s name LDS,” said Mancienne.
In the case of Linyon Sanzman the petition was submitted a day after the Electoral Commission had informed the party’s leader Martin Aglae that he could use the name. The same name was used by an opposition coalition to campaign for a presidential run-off in December 2015.
The coalition formed by members of four opposition parties now known as LDS who had planned to register the name Linyon Sanzman as the banner under which they would contest the upcoming National Assembly elections had submitted a petition before the Supreme Court to contest the registration of their planned name by another political group.
In a previous ruling Supreme Court Judge Bernadin Renaud said that the Electoral Commission had to listen to the two political parties involved in the matter with the objective of resolving the contentious issues.
The Electoral Commission issued a statement on Tuesday detailing meetings held with both sides and announcing its decision to allow the Martin Aglae to use the name for his political party.
The leader of LSD Jimmy Gabriel who is yet to thoroughly read the court’s decisions said he will give his reactions in the coming days.
The Linyon Sanzman leader Martin Aglae on the other hand has said that they will be challenging the decisions by filing two cases before the courts on Friday.
“We are going before the courts and as I have said before we will take part in the elections,” said Aglae describing the unfolding event as political propagandas.
According to Aglae through the petitions “LDS is showing that it’s panicking, not ready to contest the national assembly elections and is seeking ways to delay the process.”
While the electoral Commission decides on a course of action following the most recent orders issued by the Supreme Court, Judge Karunakaran has set September 21 for the case relating to the use of the two names to be heard before the court.