Seychelles opposition wins presidency for first time in 43 years

Ramkalawan, a former Anglican priest, defeated President Danny Faure after three decades of unsuccessful runs for the presidency

Seychelles opposition wins presidency for first time in 43 years

Voters queue at a polling station to cast their ballots during the river and parliamentary elections in Seychelles on October 22, 2020. REUTERS

Victoria (Seychelles), October 25

The Seychelles elected an opposition candidate as president for the first time since 1977, authorities announced on Sunday, and winner Wavel Ramkalawan reaffirmed a pledge to hike the minimum wage after COVID-19 stifled the tourism-dependent economy.

Seychelles State House said in a statement on its website that Ramkalawan and his vice-president Ahmed Afif would be inaugurated on Monday.

Ramkalawan, a former Anglican priest, defeated President Danny Faure after three decades of unsuccessful runs for the presidency of the East African nation, an Indian Ocean archipelago famed for its natural beauty and rare wildlife.

Also read: Indian-origin priest elected Seychelles President

Ramkalawan captured 54.9 per cent of the vote while Faure got 43.5 per cent in the vote held from Thursday through Saturday, the electoral commission announced.

Ramkalawan promised to continue working with Faure — an unusually good-natured transfer of power for the nearby African continent where many rulers are eliminating term limits and cracking down on political opposition.

“Mr Faure and I are good friends. And an election does not mean the end of one’s contribution to one’s motherland,” Ramkalawan said in his victory speech. “In this election, there were no losers, there were no winners. Our country was given the opportunity as the ultimate winner,” he added.

As he spoke, Faure sat close by, nodding his head.

In 1977, power changed hands via a coup that led to 27 years of rule by Albert Rene, punctuated by several coup attempts including one in 1981 by South African-backed mercenaries masquerading as vacationing rugby players.

Faure’s United Seychelles party had been in power over the past 43 years but this was the first time he had faced voters himself. He was vice president when his predecessor resigned in 2016 after a constitutional amendment was passed limiting presidents to two terms.

Faure’s chances may have been damaged by a severe economic downturn. Travel restrictions imposed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic mean the Seychelles economy is expected contract by 13.8 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

It is a stunning reversal of fragile progress since the government defaulted on its debt in 2008 and sought an IMF bailout.

Both Ramkalawan, of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa party and another opposition candidate, Alain St Ange of the One Seychelles party, had promised voters they would raise the minimum wage.

This week’s election was for both the presidency and parliament. Ramakalawan’s party will have 20 directly elected parliament seats and five nominated ones, while Faure’s party will have six directly elected members and four nominated. Reuters

Don't Miss

Arrival of pets has been the exact disruption we needed

Arrival of pets has been the exact disruption we needed

Modi to Ganguly, how different is BCCI?

Modi to Ganguly, how different is BCCI?

Sins of the father & the aftermath

Sins of the father & the aftermath

Summer of 69, in Himalayas

Summer of 69, in Himalayas

Congress in need of overhaul

Congress in need of overhaul

Top Stories

Delhi Chalo march LIVE: Farmers reach near Delhi borders; face water cannons, tear gas

Delhi Chalo march LIVE: Farmers reach near Delhi borders; face water cannons, tear gas

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Haryana) leader Gurnam Singh welcomed ...

Langar preparations under way to serve thousands of protesting farmers

Langar preparations under way to serve thousands of protesting farmers

Other special committees are serving food to thousands of un...

Supreme Court questions FIR against Arnab Goswami

Supreme Court questions FIR against Arnab Goswami

A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandracuhd says prima facie th...

Kangana bungalow demolition smacks of malice, says Bombay High Court

Kangana bungalow demolition smacks of malice, says Bombay High Court

Ranaut had sought Rs 2 crore in damages from the BMC and urg...

Navy's MiG-29K fighter jet crashes into sea near Goa

Navy's MiG-29K fighter jet crashes into sea near Goa

Search is on for one of the two pilots who had ejected

Cities

View All