Ramkalawan remains SNP party leader as other veterans bow out


The convention, the highlight of which was the election for the new executive committee, was held at the International Conference Centre and was attended by over 400 supporters.

The new SNP executive committee

Addressing them after he was elected by a crushing majority of 437 ‘Yes’ votes against 4 ‘No’ votes, Mr Ramkalawan noted he had announced after his defeat in the presidential election in May that he was stepping down.

He said, however, he has since talked to many supporters who have expressed their concerns such a decision entails.

He added that his party’s boycott of the recent National Assembly elections had, according to him, produced “encouraging results” and he has decided to stay on, “assured that politics can be viewed in another way”.

Mr Ramkalawan confirmed that his party was engaged in ongoing talks for electoral reforms, which he said should be “in depth and far-reaching”. He added that the political landscape should be “level”, so that politics can be taken seriously. He said events in 2011 have changed the political scene completely.

Several veteran officials however declined to stand for another mandate on the SNP executive.

These included party founders Roger Mancienne, who for many years had been the party’s number two, Annette Georges and Jean-François Ferrari. They remain supporters of the SNP and were presented with a ‘memento’ for their loyalty at the end of the gathering.

This is particularly significant after the SNP has been badly hit by defections or dismissals throughout 2011.

Submitting his report earlier, Mr Mancienne said 2011 had been a momentous one for the SNP, marred by controversies and electoral deceptions. He said the party had remained resilient in the face of adversity. He gave as example that though the Regar newspaper had closed for a while after the presidential election, a new publication also linked to the SNP has appeared and is doing useful work.

Lawyers Anthony Derjacques and Bernard Georges spoke at length on the need for electoral reforms, stating that the odds were skewed in favour of the ruling party.

They said there should be a platform on political expenditure once elections are announced, strict laws against any form of “electoral bribing”, and an end to the misuse of state funds for political ends.

Mr Derjacques also said that the “cooling off period” should be abolished and the campaign period made longer than just 21 days. The use of translucent ballot boxes was another suggestion to render polling free and fair.

Besides Mr Ramkalawan, Nicolas Prea – who was his vice-presidential running mate – was elected secretary general, winning over Mr Derjacques.

Sandy Arissol and Siana Bistoquet are the two new deputy secretaries general. Ten other committee members were also elected out of 19 candidates. They are Aaron Bonnelame, Norbert Loizeau, Francis Cupidon, Deborah Brioche, Bernard Georges, Gervais Henrie, Gerald Julie, Lydia Jumeau, Georges Madeleine and Danny Sopha.

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