Tensions in the Seychelles after neck and neck elections

Although everyday life in the Seychelles remains as peaceful as ever – living up to the islands’ paradisiacal tourist image – there have been tensions brewing below the surface ever since disputed elections last month.

In the presidential election on 16–18 December, President James Michel was officially re-elected, beating his closest rival by a mere 193 votes – a razor sharp margin even in a country with a population of just 90,000 people. The opposition, led by Wavel Ramkalawan, immediately called for a review, intimating that there had been vote rigging and irregularities.

The Supreme Court is currently scrutinising the electoral process following petitions from the opposition and will eventually decide whether the poll will be re-run later this year.

In the meantime, accusations are being thrown in both directions. There are rumours, gleefully disseminated by the opposition Seychelles Weekly, that poor people were paid up to Rs5,000 ($380) to give up their identity cards until after the election. Meanwhile, the government-friendly Times of Seychelles has reported that attempts to set fire to a local party office and primary school have been discovered, alleging that supporters of the opposition may have been behind them.

The ruling party accuses the opposition of being sore losers, while the latter accuse the president and his supporters of being cheats.

How popular is Michel?
There are genuine ideological differences between Michel and Ramkalawan. Whereas Michel continues the moderate socialist policies of his predecessor, Ramkalawan runs on a liberal-conservative platform. And while the ruling SPPF accuses the opposition of incompetence and opportunism, intimating that only they have the skills to run the country, the SNP alleges that its rivals rule through cronyism and have been unable to instigate necessary reforms in the Seychellois economy. They have now also added electoral fraud to their list of accusations.

Among the electorate, it is difficult to say how popular the long-serving James Michel really is. “Yes, he is competent, honest and wants the best for his people,” say some. However, others claim that the “people are fed up with him” and that “if he had been popular, he would have got 55, or 60, or even 70% of the vote”.

Supporters of the government say that if there were a change of power, welfare would decline and inequality would increase, while those sympathetic to the opposition insist the country can do better and point to recent statistics that suggest 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Some others simply complain that there is a lack of choice. One small businessman, exasperated with the rules and regulations of what he sees as “still in many ways a one-party state”, jokes that even the road network doesn’t give people alternatives. “There’s just one road to Victoria [the capital] – there is too little choice in this country!”

It’s a small world
Perhaps the most characteristic aspect of Seychellois politics and economics is its tiny scale. With only 90,000 citizens, anonymity is difficult to achieve and developing a state bureaucracy without drawing on personal networks is virtually impossible. People in the political class know each other either personally or through common acquaintances, and they know who they can trust and who to avoid.

One example of this attitude can be seen in the rumours that spread at one point that Etihad Airlines would pull out of Seychelles if Ramkalawan won the presidential election. Clearly unfounded, this far-fetched idea is indicative of the widespread faith here that personal networks are the key to everything.

The significance of personal networks cannot be spirited away since it concerns the very fabric of small-scale Seychellois society. Moreover, the stark dualism of Seychellois politics encourages polarisation rather than compromise.

This is unlikely to change unless there is electoral reform that could incorporate strong proportionality. This might in turn enable party pluralism, dampening the dualism which is currently creating an unproductive tension in Seychellois society.

Without this, we are likely to see similar conflicts arise later this year when parliamentary elections – and perhaps re-run presidential polls depending on how the court rules – will see the same two rival parties pitted against each other once again.

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Comments

  1. The scrutinizing by the Court of the election process in Seychelles will surely conclude that Election rigging is the act of dishonestly organizing an election to get a particular result. Which is an electoral fraud and an interference with the election process.
    Rigging can be in different forms and it is no coincidence that the Opposition complained when Etihad interfered in the internal affairs of Seychelles by making inappropriate statement. If proof is needed there is ample proof that airlines connected to Seychelles were involved in the rigging operation. Overseas students were gifted free tickets to fly home to vote. Emirates Airline flight via Dubai brought enough votes to make Michel won that razor sharp margin.
    A Seychellois Student in China.

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  2. CJ will please the master therefore no third round!
    Next time if there is a next time and WE know there is MANBOULOOK hit the street the same night.....don't wait to file to the supreme court because we know there are lots of kangaroos in this court and nothing will be done!

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  3. If Pl was the opposition and they lost by 193 votes Mahe would burn down the same night or next day!

    Since SNP and the Linyon For Change preached "NO VIOLENCE" PL stole the election right in front their eyes and they stayed mute!

    Now Mathilda will just have to say what it is.....PL for five more years! And what will the UNION FOR CHANGE say?

    Now who do you think is starting the PL branch office fire?

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  4. US goverenmnt asked full investigation in alleged election irregularities .......it is the beginning of international pressure and since it s the US leading for expalination ...seychlles might face hardship if the robbery of the lection by Michel is not solved ...that will include blockage of laon by international organizations like IMF ,WB ..sanctions ,,and would affect our economy and image abroad.....this gives alos the Oppostion legitimacy while pl is delegitimized and left weith no support both nationally and internationally,,,,

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  5. US alos asks pl to criminalize Domestic violence ,,something we have been telling pl for years now ....All we had from pl is speeches by Meriton on Domestic violence as he is a victim and an NGO ,,not a minister...
    the thing is ,when the US decides to speaks out on an issue ,it would not stay passive ,,,faling to solve the elction issue proffesionally and with fairness ,,the consequesnces on Seychelles would be unbearable...
    That means US could pressure IMF ,WB not to bail out Pl anymore,,,,,,etc..etc..etc...
    US words would weigh on this issue ....not the ball is in the Constituional court...

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  6. YOU CAN HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES oNEIZIME ..NOT MORE RESORUCES BUT EXSITING RESOURCES BY STOPPING TO BRAODCAST INDAINS ,CHIENSE AND RABS ON OUR NATIONAL MEIDA ...STOP SHOWING US mICHEL HUNDRED TIMES ON nATION AND sBC PER DAY ,,,,STOP TRAHS PROGRAMS ..STOP ADVETRISING INDAIN ATTMEPT TO COLONIZE SEYCHLLES AND MODIFY OUR NATION ...STOP SHOWING INDAIN FLAG RIAISNG ON OUR SHORES AS IF Seychellois ARE INDAIN AND SHOULD BE SHOWN iNDAIN FLAG RAISING ON Seychelles mEDIAS....STOP SHOWING uS KHALIFA SHITTING IN OUR WATERS ..STOP SHOWING ABSRUD REDICULOUS AND TRAHS PROGRAMMS BY DOING SO ,,,oNEZIME WOULD HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES TO GIVE SEYCHELLOIS THEIR LEGITIMATE AND CONSTITUIONAL RIGHTS TO GET ACCESS TO THEIRNATIONAL MEIDA ...< I GUESS oNEIZIEM UNDERSTANDS THE DIFINITION OF NATIONAL ---IT MEANS FOR THE PEOPLE NOT A POLITCAL PARTY .NOR A PERSON LIKE ARABS

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  7. Couple days ago the Lalyans Party went to drink tea with the SBC top elites.....time will tell....For me SBC will always be about PL.....and not fairness.....Just ask JAM.....Pat Nanty know the truth and Onezime can coufirm that.

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  8. Heard the Assembly election will held soon,what if the oppositions win the majority who will be the SPEAKER of the house?

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  9. NATION write abtou
    Sir lanakn celebrate its independence.
    Ethopia Airline to celebrate Chinese newyears
    Or othe shits--What has Sir lanakn to do with Seychellois Pl...?Should we also celebrate SSri lanakin indepdence as if Seychellois are Srilanakans --
    Ethopian Airline belongs to ethopia ,A soveiregn NAtion ..so why tell us about Ethopian Airline objestives -----should Seychellois know about this ,,should Seychellois be conccnered about what Ethopian Airline decdies and do Pl donekys ..?

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  10. Pl is a criminal organization disguise as political party .....criminals know only voilecen ,,that is the hallmark---Pl made coup detat because pl knew it would never be elelcted in free and fair election.....

    The faer of justice and being punished for their multiples crimies make them afraid ,,not loosing power ......power has been the cover up ,the means to get away with their crimes .....ICC would be surely pleased to welcome Michel and thungs to the Hague......there would be no beaches ,,No formula one ,no caviar there but a small two by two meter cell for a lifetime..

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  11. Us pressure pl.. while Govenfden ,,the under educated doney who made a degree in Mauritius ,,,for he could not enter Western university with a d grade A-level ...this donkey is not qualified .........one does not get the best university degree in Maurirtius Govenden...this donkey is a srtooge and should long be asked to go .

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    Replies
    1. Govinden has made a right royal fool of himself by filing a stupid defence which was ceremoniously set aside by the Constitutional Court. Even a first year law student would have done a better job.

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  12. What does Gustave De Comarmond, Alain De Comarmond, Jeanine Faure, Pierre De Comarmond have in common? The answer, they all belong to the Animal Farm or Kingdom. Lari Bazar, where Gustave and Alain practice their voodoo campaign for Lepep should be ashamed that Pierre De Comarmond the father of Jeanine Faure (born De Comarmond) fucked her as a second wife to Jeannette (the primary wife). The house was stinking with the same family sperms until Jeanine had to trap Danny Faure as an escape route from the butcher shop. Danny Faure dived into the net not knowing the full story. This is the reason that Danny has been couring Aude Labaleine his secretary for years now. During the election campaign, Aude Labaleine was cashing cheques in thousands of rupees for extravagance. One night there was a scuffle in Danny’s household because he was smelling Aude’s odour. Jeanine told him to sleep under the vehranda with the dogs. Gustave, Alain, Jeanine, and Pierre shame on you. Go and hide you ugly faces from the mainstream public because you are all a disgrace to the society. You cannot insult Wavel and Ton Pat because you smell animal farm’s dustbin.

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  13. Poor Danny Faure, he has been assigned to the position of prostitute. James would only send him to visit and kiss those people having skeptic tank and drainage problems. Maurice Laustau Lalanne, Calixte D’Offay are the “white people” sitting with James Michel, when he receives dignitaries. Some Lepep supporters have been asking what is the problem that Danny is not part of James’ entourage. The answer, which James gave to Lise Bastienne is that Danny is a black man. He does not fit the white circle. He would feel out of place if he is invited. Yes, discrimination is overt. Danny is given a small shelter as a hideaway. Danny is so blind that he cannot distinguish between day and night.

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  14. Ronny Govinden, the pineapple face bastard has always been a con artist and a prostitute. The R500,000 which he received at the Wharf Restaurant was compensation for his corrupt practice and fraud on the “Davidson’s family” property. Ronny is a seasoned liar, theft, corrupt, cheater “un grand voleur” of our times. We are watching your transactions and lavish spending from blood monies. Your time is around the corner liki ou manman, who was a prostitute. Very soon, you will join some inmates at Montagne Posee. Your wife knows that you have been cheating on her a number of times. You can keep on running but the net is very close to your doorstep. James will deny you of any support like Judas, when the meteorite lands. Sleep well while you can on taxpayer monies. 100 temp pour le voleur mais un grand jour pour le maitre. Philip Boulle will tell you what this phrase means.

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  15. Francis McGregor is very pissed off with James. Francis told his wife that James should have accepted the defeat rather than steal the result. Wavel is the true winner. Francis said that he does not know who to deal with this case. He is tired of dealing with fraud and dishonest Lepep. He is thinking of quitting the job because he is expected to have a barrage of questions, never heard before. He is so scared of the Mauritian lawyer, Sanjay who will make him and his colleagues like fools in paradise. Sanjay has already made his views known that he is going to take Francis McGregor to task. Wavel knows that a circus is about to start, when the judges get lost in terminologies and definition of “ valid votes, votes cast”. This will be an interesting saga to follow. Fernando is going to Bangladesh to get help because he is lately of unsound mind.
    The story of James Lesperance is also unfolding fast and furious. He claimed that he is untouchable because he is an agent of James Michel. NDEA cannot touch him. The R27 million he gave to Lepep as a donation comes from his dealings in Eden Island. His time is also up. He spent R10 million in Thailand during Christmas and New Year. His deals also involve Ogilvy Berlouis, David Pierre and a few other know figures like Dolor Ernesta. Ernest Quatre gets his fair share of the transaction. It is all blended in one whole group including Mukesh Valabhji, Francis Chang Leng (as the mediator/broker) David Savy, Glenny Savy, Ramu Pillay, Nashiraman Ramani, Vijay Patel, Pravin Darab, Shanjay Shah, Frank Houareau.

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  16. PL is telling Chinese Tourists to come visit the the paradise a-la-PL-style.This is the same BS bunch of THUGS who were scaring the tourists before our Independent by putting BOMB at the HOTEL and demonstrating on the beach chanting Sesel Pou Seselwa!Same to the Indians,telling them NOU POU BEZ POUS ZOT KAN NOU POU GANNY LANDEPANDANS.....NOWADAYS WHERE EVER YOU LOOK U SEE MALBAR,MALBAR AND MORE MALBAR.In the meantime Manchanm is getting congratulation from the same people who OVERTHREW him!Poor DUDE PL gave him too much KOOLAID to drink!If you don't believe just ask CHRISTOPHER son-bien-aimee he will approve it!This ST.ANGE is a the same DUDE who pulled the youngs out of the NYS for demonstration in Victoria during the SPUP era....now he is getting FAT again after a surgery couple years ago in S.A. Captain Morgan don't even know his job discription,but he know how to buy land for his friends and family with one eye closed and one hand tied at his back!... Plus sa change!

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  17. The excess of ballot papers during this last election came from a man call Henry in South Africa. This Henry is a close associate with Leopold Payet. Robert Ernesta knows this crook very well. He comes to Seychelles very often to do his deals and stay at Coco Dor Hotel. In the previous elections, the extra ballot papers would come from Y.S. Lim, another con artist, crook, and thief who is a close friend of Francis Chang Leng. He does all the dirty jobs in Singapore. If Wavel and Ton Pat do not remain alert the same trick will apply for the MNAs election. The ballot papers normally come in diplomatic bags from South Africa. Bernard Elizabeth is now talking that all the members of the EC received R2 million each from James. Beatty Houareau said that he regretted his association with the fraud because he is living with a guilty conscious. His family detest him as a coward.

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  18. Laine ;morel ;Volcere .are defending Michel ...when Michel said to world experts that he grow fish.......Well it is true that a fish farmer or aquaculture farm grow,raise breed fish ...but the fact is Michel was not talking about aquaculture nor fish farming ...we donot have it in Seychelles but about the OCEAN.......
    When Michel said "we must talk to the fishes and ocean "We really meaning talking to fishes and ocean as we people talk to each other ....,, which is a troubling mind...

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  19. AAmed Aifi dogs chanrge for killing another dog ....it seems the dog would have to go to court to answer the judge of his act ...what about pl crooks who killed Amsbury and Pillay dogs ...?No investigation so far ......Such redicule happens only in ADSURDISTAN that Seychelles under pl thugs.

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  20. The Seychelles President James Michel made his State of the Nation Address before the National Assembly late this afternoon. He announced several amendments including the 3 terms presidency. But he failed to mention the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. One can see that time is running short and old age is catching up with him. He was in a state of panic and in a hurry to get down from the podium that he took a tumble, just like what happened to 93 years old dictator Mugabe last year. Time to go Michel.

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  21. This SOB-JAM stole every single ideas of the Oppositions to win. This reminds me of a legendary ICON who said: "TODAY,IF YOU INVENT A BETTER MOUSETRAP,THE GOVERNMENT COMES ALONG WITH A BETTER MOUSE"

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  22. The Ugandan President took a page from SPUP/PL book fearing people days before the election and putting opposition leader in jail.This is SPUP style.....forgot to say this actual President went to the same school as FAR and JAM thugs.....the only different DADA is dead FAR is still breathing free air.....

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