|James Michel||31 966||55.46|
|Wavel Ramkalawan||23 878||41.43|
After a Presidential election held between May 19 and May 22, 2011, incumbent James Michel, of the Lepep party, won a third term in office with 55.46% of the vote. Long time rival, Wavel Ramkalawan, of the New Democratic Party, came in second with 41.43%.
Out of 69 000 registered voters, there were 57 633 valid votes.
Despite there being no reported incidents of violence, the election was tarnished to a degree by claims from Ramkalawan that Michel was providing social assistance in exchange for votes. Michel denied the claims and pushed ahead with his campaigning slogan of “a new Seychelles”, which highlighted his view that the island needed greater economic reform and modernisation policies.
Presidential elections in the Seychelles occur every five years. The President is elected by an absolute majority through universal adult franchise.
Michel has been in Presidential office since 2004, after replacing the People’s Party socialist leader France Albert René, who first came to power after a coup in 1977. René was Michel’s mentor and took over power after René stepped down, following 27 years of ruling the island. Once in power Michel was re-elected in 2006.
He has successfully marketed the island as a top holiday destination with tourism making up a sizeable portion of gross domestic product, with contributions from the fishing industry. With such a dependence on tourism, however, the small island’s economy is vulnerable to market shocks and changes in the global economy. This was illustrated by the effects that the economic recession had on the island, which was amplified by high oil prices and huge debt. The government implemented unpopular austerity measures, job cuts and devaluation to combat the crisis, a process that was overseen by the International Monetary Fund in 2008.
With stability returning to the global economy, the country’s tourism levels are returning to some level of normalcy. President Michel is employing measures of diversification by promoting alternative industries to shelter the island’s economy from market shocks and reduce its vulnerability to changes in the global economy.
Within the next few months the island will enter into Parliamentary elections, which have been brought forward from April next year, as a result of a Parliamentary crisis that saw the ruling Lepep party dissolve the National Assembly. The Lepep party argue that it dissolved the Assembly in response to the Seychelles National Party’s (SNP’s) boycott of the country’s legislature, following the election of Michel. The ruling party claims that the SNP is trying to retard the judicial process in an attempt to delay the forthcoming Parliamentary elections, which Lepep contends the SNP are not prepared for.
Seychelles Weekly. Election results – President Michel re-elected. (May 23, 2011).
Eisa. Seychelles: electoral system. (July 27, 2011).
AFO. Vote buying claims mar Seychelles election. (May 19, 2011).
Bloomberg. Seychelles Presidential election gives James Michel a third term in office. (May 21, 2011).
Wolfgangthome’s Blog. Seychelles breaking news – election results declare President. (May 22, 2011).
African Election Database. Elections in Seychelles. (July 27, 2011).