Government Politics of Seychelles

Last elections: December 2015 (presidential), September 2016 (legislative)

Next elections: 2020 (presidential and legislative)

Head of state: President James Alix Michel

Head of government: the President

Ruling party: People’s Party

Following the 1998 elections Wavel Ramkalawan formed a new party, the Seychelles National Party (SNP), to succeed his United Opposition party. In an early presidential election in September 2001, René was returned to office, securing 54% of the votes, defeating Ramkalawan (45%), in a much closer contest than in 1998. Though the SNP significantly strengthened its position in the parliamentary elections in December 2002, with 11 of the 34 elective seats and 42.6% of the votes, the ruling Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF) remained in control of the National Assembly.

Following the elections the SPPF chose vice-president and finance minister James Michel as their candidate for the presidential contest due in 2006, France Albert René being allowed only two terms under the constitution. In April 2004, after almost 27 years as head of state, René stood down and Michel became president.

Michel was endorsed by the electorate in the July 2006 presidential contest when, with 54% of the votes cast, he defeated the SNP’s Wavel Ramkalawan.

In the parliamentary elections held in May 2007, the ruling SPPF, with 56% of the votes, again won 23 seats and the SNP, with 44%, took 11.

At its 24th National Congress in June 2009 the SPPF was renamed the People’s Party.

In the May 2011 presidential election Michel was re-elected, winning 56% of the votes cast. His principal rival, Ramkalawan of the SNP, secured 41% of the votes. A Commonwealth expert team present declared the electoral process credible. Among its recommendations were that the government carry out a thorough review of electoral legislation, and establish an independent electoral commission, as recommended in the April 2010 report of the Constitutional Review Commission.

Following the presidential election in May 2011 the SNP boycotted parliament citing the slow pace of electoral reform. Some disaffected SNP members then formed a new party, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), to fight the parliamentary elections which were held from 29 September to 1 October 2011. The elections were again won by the People’s Party led by President James Michel, taking all 25 elective seats in the National Assembly and receiving 89% of the votes cast. The PDM took 11% of the votes but failed to win any of the elective seats.

The Electoral Commission was appointed in August 2011 and the Forum for Electoral Reform – inaugurated in January 2012 with the support of all five registered political parties – embarked on a series of public hearings, with a view to making recommendations on reform of election law.

President Michel was returned in the election of December 2015. He won 47.8 per cent of the votes cast in the first round (held over 3– 5 December), Ramkalawan of the SNP taking 33.9 per cent and Patrick Pillay of Lalyans Seselwa 14.2 per cent. In the second round (16–18 December), Michel, with 50.15 per cent, narrowly defeated Ramkalawan (49.85 per cent). Turnout was 90.1 per cent. Commonwealth observers, led by former Prime Minister of Tonga Lord Sevele, said the election was ‘peaceful, generally well conducted and transparent’ but expressed concern about widespread allegations of vote buying.

In the 2016 parliamentary elections the four main opposition parties (the Seychelles National Party, the Seychellois Alliance, the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy and the Seychelles United Party) formed a coalition and ran as the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS).  LDS won 19 of the 31 seats with a 49.59% share of the votes.  The election was a close content, as the People’s Party won 49.22% of the votes and 14 seats.

President Michel announced his intention to resign from the presidency on 27th September 2016.  His Vice President, Danny Faure, was sworn in as President on 16th October 2016.