"Historic step" for Seychelles as ruling party loses parliament

The opposition in the Seychelles won a historic majority in the tiny Indian Ocean nation’s 33-seat parliament Sunday, ending decades of control by the party of President James Michel.

The two main opposition parties formed a coalition called Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) in December 2015, when they narrowly failed to beat Michel in a presidential election.

LDS won 15 of the 25 constituencies contested in the parliamentary poll, while the ruling Parti Lepep took the remaining 10.

It is the first time since the return of multiparty democracy in the Seychelles in 1993 that Parti Lepep has lost its majority.

The leader of LDS Roger Mancienne said the result marks “a historic step” for the country.

“It's historic because it's the first time that we have a transition of power in one of the branches of government – the legislature,” Mancienne said.

The result gives LDS a total of 19 seats in the Sixth National Assembly while Parti Lepep will hold 14 seats.

Counting of ballots in the parliamentary poll continued until the early hours of Sunday, when chairman of the Seychelles electoral commission Hendrick Gappy announced the results before party leaders, members of the diplomatic corps, observers and the media.

President James Michel conceded his party's defeat, saying: "The people have spoken, the people have decided and the people’s decision is supreme and my party respects the people’s opinion.”

Michel was re-elected in December by a margin of only 193 votes.

Voting started on the most remote of the country’s 120-island archipelago on Thursday and ended on main island Mahe on Saturday. Turnout was put at 87 per cent.

Last update: Sun, 11/09/2016 - 11:47

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