PRESIDENT MICHEL SWORN IN THIS AFTERNOON
(Crowds assemble at State House Victoria to witness the swearing in and celebrate ‘their’ election win)
Late afternoon on Tuesday 24th of May saw the formal swearing in ceremony take place at the State House in Victoria on the island of Mahe, capital of the Seychelles following the announcement of the election results by the Commissioner of Election in the early hours of last Sunday.
The front lawn of State House was decked out in the national colours of blue, yellow, red, white and green and seats for invited guests had been arranged under party tents, an indication of the celebration party which was to follow the official ceremony.
(Front section of State House in Victoria, decorated to fit the day)
This correspondent was invited to witness the occasion, probably as a result of previous articles about the Seychelles elections, both prior and from the Election Day itself and admission into State House was swift as the name was known at the gate house.
At half past five in the afternoon, Seychelles time, did President James Michel take the two oaths, the one of allegiance to the constitution of the Seychelles and then followed by the oath of office, administered by a fellow Ugandan who serves as Chief Justice in the Seychelles.
This was immediately followed by the swearing in of the Vice President Danny Faure and both of them are now commencing a 5 year term of office.
In his inaugural address President Michel spoke to all Seychellois and assured them he would be working for them even those who voted for the opposition while thanking them for their support at the polls and giving him another mandate. He pledged tough measures against the use of drugs and drug trafficking into the archipelago, before this evolved into a big problem although he mainly focused on his theme of building a ‘New Seychelles’ for the benefit of all through economic stimulant measures, support to Seychellois to open their own businesses, focus on education and training to create a skilled workforce and further administrative reforms. President Michel also spoke of the need for discipline and hard work and to work together as a nation, undivided by political differences.
After ending his inaugural address the president went to greet those present and hundreds of Seychellois from all walks of life made their way to the centre stage where they were able to shake hands with the president, a moment when they were all visibly proud to be Seychellois.
Notably were the three opposition candidates who ran against President Michel absent again, as they already were at the announcement of the results in the early hours of Sunday. A number of opposition supporters in the hotels this correspondent stayed in while in the Seychelles in fact left no doubt over this affront when asked and openly spoke about their disappointment over the way their candidates handled the election results. Said one: ‘all candidates went to a church service, prayed together and promised before God to work together regardless of the results. Now my SNP candidate was not there when results were announced. This is a broken promise and it is not good. We must live together and work together if we vote government or opposition. I am disappointed in him’ while another commented about their absence at the swearing in ceremony: ‘Thousands of my fellow Seychellois wanted to go and see the ceremony. We could not go because of work and limits on numbers. But our leaders at least should have gone there. This is a national event and if they stay away who can take that serious. We will try again in five years but maybe with more mature leaders for SNP who know what we expect from them. This election was not rigged and votes were not bought, there were no glaring problems anywhere when people voted last week but we lost, that was not good for us SNP supporters but now it is time to work and build nation.’
It is understood that the announcement of a new cabinet, very likely with both old and new faces, was expected later in the week although it is expected that President Michel will retain the portfolio for tourism to again signal that this sector remains on top of the list of economic priorities.
(President Michel is sworn into office by the Chief Justice of the Seychelles)
(The President looks on as the Vice President is sworn in)