Opposition coalition -- LDS -- wins Seychelles' National Assembly in historic electoral transition
LDS supporters celebrate their party's victory after the results were announced early Sunday. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An opposition coalition -- Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) -- has won parliamentary polls held in Seychelles, the Electoral Commission confirmed early Sunday.
LDS has won majority votes in 15 of the 25 constituencies contested, while the ruling Parti Lepep took the remaining 10.
It’s the first time since the return of multiparty democracy in Seychelles in 1993 that the ruling Parti Lepep has lost its majority in parliament.
LDS is a coalition of four main parties including the Seychelles National Party (SNP) which boycotted the 2011 parliamentary polls.
The leader of LDS Roger Mancienne said the result marks “a historic step” for the country.
“It’s historic because it’s the first time that we have a transition of power in one of the branches of government – the legislature,” said Mancienne, adding that the transition had occured in a peaceful and orderly manner.
For his part the leader of Parti Lepep also the Seychelles President James Michel conceded his party's defeat in the elections.
"The people have spoken, the people have decided and the people’s decision is supreme and my party respects the people’s opinion,” said Michel while calling for peaceful celebrations and respect for each other’s opinion.
For the first time in a Seychelles election, the Electoral Commission announced provisional results as and when they started to come in after 11 p.m. However, the population had to wait until after 4.00 am on Sunday to receive official results.
The third and final day of voting in the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean on Saturday saw the majority of the 71,932 eligible voters head to the polls.
According to the Electoral Commission the voter turnout was 62,939 representing 87 percent of the voters’ population. A total of 1,547 votes were rejected.
A closer look at the results show that 30,444 people (48.37 percent) voted for LDS while Parti Lepep received the support of 30,218 (48.01 percent) of voters.
The Electoral Commission has announced that both LDS and Parti Lepep have secured four proportionate seats in the assembly. This means LDS will hold 19 seats in the Sixth National Assembly while Parti Lepep will hold 14 seats.
Parti Lepep currently holds all 25 directly elected seats in the assembly and an additional seven proportionate seats.
Compared to the 2011 polls which was contested by only one opposition group alongside Parti Lepep, the 2016 vote was highly contested.
A third party the Seychelles Patriotic Movement had candidates for 23 out of the 25 electoral districts. SPM candidates secured only 602 votes in total hence has not obtained any seats in the next assembly.
Three independent candidates also contested the vote in three districts – Anse Aux Pins, Au Cap and Mont Buxton. None of them have secured enough votes to be entitled any seats in parliament.
The parliamentary elections comes less than a year after voters in Seychelles had cast ballots in a presidential election which ran into a historic run off.
The leader of Parti Lepep, President James Michel, was declared the winner of the December 2015 vote with 50.15 percent of the votes against the SNP leader Wavel Ramkalawan who won 49.85 percent. Only 193 votes separated the two candidates.