Parti Lepep, the Seychelles’ ruling party, has over the weekend formalized what Seychelles President James Alix Michel has already announced weeks ago, that he will stand again for the office of President at the upcoming 2016 elections, with current Vice President Danny Faure once more as his running mate.
The early announcement, almost unprecedented, put an end to much speculation at the time over the president’s intention and in particular his running mate, who, when the two get re-elected as is widely expected, will be in pole position to succeed President Michel who will under the constitution serve his last term of office.
Also confirmed were the 25 candidates of the party for parliamentary elections, again putting an end to speculation as to who will stand in which of the archipelago’s constituencies and allow them to get ready for the campaign, as and when it officially starts. More than half of the parliamentary candidates have not served as members of Parliament before.
This correspondent was privileged to be invited to cover the presidential elections in 2011 and was able to witness the peaceful way the elections for president were conducted at the time, even though the opposition made a range of allegations and did not turn up for the election result announcement. Teams from the Commonwealth and the African Union, on the islands to observe the elections at the time and met at many of the polling stations visited, however, also agreed that the allegations were unfounded, paving the way for President Michel’s second term of office.
Tourism operators in the meantime went after their business as usual, not impacted by the current day politics which, with the emergence of several new political parties, will set the stage for an interesting contest next year.
While some of the parties have already had candidates announce their intention to stand and take on President Michel, others have yet to make their announcements, something expected with keen interest across the islands.
“We have no problems with elections here. In fact, tourists will hardly notice that a campaign is on or that election day has come. You saw it last time, and the most perhaps visitors will learn is from the papers or the local TV stations on the night of the day when results are coming in. Unlike in so many other places, when we have elections, business goes on like normal, and that is the way it has been for long. The Seychelles are peaceful, and though arguments and debates may seem heated, it is all done in a very civil way,” wrote a source from Victoria back on condition of not being named. Elections are due at the end of April, as they must be held within 90 days after the end of January 2016 according to information received from the same source.
Seychelles, truly another world.