Seychelles breaking news – Parliament dissolves itself, paves way for fresh general elections


President Michel’s party LEPEP gained a crucial victory in parliament yesterday, when they managed to attain a two third majority in two important rounds of voting. Each time a senior member of the SNP opposition crossed the floor and voted with the ruling party, providing the all important 23rd vote required.

First on the floor was the vote for a constitutional amendment, amongst other issues seeking to establish the office of an electoral commission comprising 5 members, which will now replace the position of a sole Electoral Commissioner. The opposition, needless to say opposed to this move inspite of demanding changes in the set up of election supervisions themselves, but lost their bid to halt the amendment when one of their members voted against party lines. This reportedly prompted an immediate letter from the outgoing leader of the opposition to the Speaker to replace her, only to be denied on procedural grounds.

With this vital amendment then passed, which incidentally was also a pending request from development partners and a recommendation of the election monitoring mission during the last Presidential Election held in May, parliament then moved on to vote on its own dissolution. This proposal, also requiring a 2/3 majority,  passed when the same SNP member then crossed party lines again, defying her SNP leadership a second time in a day and giving the party LEPEP victory.

Parliament in Victoria, actually called the National Assembly, now stands dismissed as of today and elections will be held within 90 days of 14th July 2011, i.e. within three months. It is expected that the ruling party will campaign on their economic success story and the law and order agenda of President Michel, amongst other key issues, which he announced only recently after his resounding win in the end May presidential elections.

As was the case with the Presidential campaign however, the run up to voting and the campaigning is expected to have NIL impact on the archipelago’s tourism industry as the process is largely considered a peaceful affair, where the once sharp political divisions of the past have long since been overcome by the inclusive and conciliatory leadership style of President Michel. This has become all the more so since commencing his economic reforms and empowerment programmes for Seychellois citizens which is reaching across the old traditional party lines.

Expect the announcement of the actual campaign period and election days here as and when respective announcements are made in Victoria by competent authorities.