France 24

Presidential election in Seychelles: opposition wins for the first time in 40 years

It is a historic victory for the opposition in a country where all heads of state have been from the former single party for more than four decades. Anglican pastor Wavel Ramkalawan wins in the first round to become Seychelles’ fifth president since independence in 1976. Anglican pastor Wavel Ramkalawan won the Seychelles presidential election in the first round, a historic victory for the opposition in a country where all heads of state had been from the former single party for more than 40 years, the electoral commission announced on Sunday (October 25th). Candidate of Linyon Democratik Seselwa (LDS) [Union démocratique seychelloise], Wavel Ramkalawan gathered 54.9% of the vote, against 43.5% for the outgoing president, Danny Faure, and becomes the fifth president of this archipelago since its independence in 1976, and of which most of the land is uninhabited. The opposition also won the legislative elections, held at the same time as the presidential election from Thursday to Saturday, with the LDS alone winning 25 seats, or two-thirds of parliament. 59-year-old Anglican priest Wavel Ramkalawan was running for the election sixth time in the presidential race. In 2015, he was beaten by only 193 votes by the outgoing president, James Michel. The latter had resigned in 2016 and left his place to Danny Faure, his vice-president, who completed his term. Single party Even before the official results were announced, supporters of Wavel Ramkalawan began to celebrate their candidate’s victory in the streets of Victoria, the capital, located on the island of Mahé. Danny Faure admitted defeat and wished ” good luck “to the new president. Wavel Ramkalawan called for national unity in a country whose economy, largely dependent on tourism, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought down the number of tourists and the value of the currency .Wavel Ramkalawan should be sworn in as president on Monday, after having met his predecessor to organize this unprecedented transfer of power. It is the former lawyer France-Albert René, president of the Seychelles from 1977 to 2004 who had established a single party, Socialist with a Marxist tendency. In the early 1990s, President René agreed to engage his country on the path of multipartyism and a certain liberalism, in particular authorizing more privatizations. He left the presidency in 2004, at the age of 69, giving way to James Michel who will remain in power until 2016.