Seychelles: First opposition victory in 44 years

Seychelles’ presidential election on Sunday saw the victory of its first opposition. The Indian Ocean archipelago country won its selection from the British more than 40 years ago.

The new president, Wavel Ramkalawan, is an Anglican priest. The opposition won the election with 54.9% of votes.

The new president Ramkalawan is the leader of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa or the Seychelles Democratic Alliance. He won against incumbent Danny Faure of the United Seychelles party. He has been in power since 1977. This was President Ramkalwan’s 6th attempt at the elections.

United Seychelles party leader Danny Faure conceded the defeat and wished his successor good luck.

Election

The election took place from Thursday to Saturday. The competition was between two parties. 59-year-old Wavel Ramkalawan led the opposition party.

Ramkalawan is an Anglican Priest and contested election for the sixth time. His party was against the incumbent government led by Danny Faure. The 58-year-old leader belongs to the United Seychelles Party.

The election campaign was held mostly over social media because of the pandemic. Rallies were banned. Seychelles recorded only 149 coronavirus cases. These were mostly imported.

Campaign issue

Seychelles is a popular tourist destination for honeymooners and paradise seekers. The economy generated the most income from the tourism industry.

The pandemic reduced the number of visitors to the country, and tourism saw a decline. Hence, the pandemic became a general and burning issue in the election campaign.

“Washington looked forward to expanding cooperation on a wide range of mutual interests including maritime security, good governance, and fighting drug abuse, piracy, and terrorism,” said the US state department.

Unemployment rose to 6.3 percent as per the government figures. 40% of Seychellois live in Poverty, said the national statistical agency of Seychelles. The cost of living is also very high. The average income is also the highest among the African countries.

The win

The opposition party won the elections for the first time since Seychelles’ independence. Seychelles Democratic alliance won 54.9% votes. Ramakalawan’s party took 25 sets or two-third of the parliament. At the same time, the United Seychelles party won 10 seats.

The US state department hailed the election as “another major milestone in Seychelles’s democracy.”

Ramkalawan lost the 2015 elections just by 200 votes. The previous presidents have come from the United Seychelles Party.

“It is important to find how we can reconcile our people to go forward,” the 59-year-old said as his jubilant supporters began celebrating in the streets of the capital, Victoria.

Image courtesy of Al Jazeera English/YouTube Screenshot

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