Southern African News Features                                           SANF 11 No 11, May 2011
Seychelles gears up for presidential elections

Seychelles will hold presidential elections next week in which incumbent President James Michel will face the challenge of four other aspirants.

According to a list released by the Indian Ocean archipelago’s Election Commission, the presidential elections will be a race pitting incumbent President James Michel, main opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), Ralph Volcere of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and independent candidates Philippe Boule and Marston St. Ange.

The commission set aside 19-21 May as the dates for the presidential elections. According to the commission, 21 May will be the “main day” for voting.

Due to the distances across the archipelago, the outer islands will start voting on 19 and 20 May to allow the exercise to be completed in time and the ballots delivered back to the main island of Mahe.

The tallying of the votes and final result announcement will take place in Mahe. Michel is going to run for a second term of office on a Parti Le Pep (LP) ticket and is widely expected to be re-elected for another five-year term.

His running mate will be the incumbent Vice President Danny Faure. Ramkalawan has teamed up with Nicholas Prea, the legislator for North Mahe's Bel Ombre Constituency, to represent the SNP.

Volcere has announced his intention to contest the elections while Victoria-based lawyer Boule and tourism operator St. Ange complete the list of candidates.

The last presidential elections in the Seychelles were held in July 2006 that saw Michel defeating Ramkalawan and Boule.

Michel garnered about 54 percent of the votes while Ramkalawan got about 46 percent with Boule collecting less than one percent.

The President is elected by an absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve a five-year term.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Election Observer Mission (SEOM) together with other regional and international observer missions is expected to monitor the electoral process.

The conduct of the different observer missions will be guided by the Constitution and electoral laws of Seychelles.

SEOM is expected to produce a report on the conduct of the polls. This is in line with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which encourage Member States to promote common political values and systems.

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