Presidential elections in Seychelles since the return of multi-party democracy | 27 October 2020
Change of power through the ballot box
Running for the presidency for the sixth time, opposition candidate Wavel Ramkalawan won the highest seat with a 54.9 percent of valid votes cast to unseat incumbent President Danny Faure during the general elections held from October 22-24, 2020.
Seychelles NATION narrates the history of presidential elections in Seychelles since the return of multiparty democracy following the birth of the Third Republic.
France Albert Rene wins to become first President in 1993
In the first multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections of the Third Republic on Friday July 23, 1993, France Albert Rene of the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF) won the presidential election.
He was elected for a first five-year term with 59.50% of the votes (25,627 out of over 43,500 voters) and he was sworn in as the first President in the Third Republic on Monday July 26, 1993.
James Mancham of the Democratic Party won 15,815 votes (36.72%) and United Opposition’s presidential candidate Philippe Boulle won 1,631 votes (3.79%).
Rene re-elected for another five-year term in 1998
In the 1998 presidential election which was once again ran simultaneously with the parliamentary election, the voters had to choose between three candidates: France Albert Rene of the SPPF, James Mancham of the Democratic Party and Wavel Ramkalawan of the United Opposition.
The candidature for each nominee included a running mate who was to automatically become the Vice-President when the person on whose tickets he/she was running wins the Presidential election.
Mr Rene’s running mate was James Michel, that for Mr Mancham was Daniel Belle and Mr Ramkalawan’s running mate was Annette Georges.
France Albert Rene was re-elected for another five-year-term with 31,048 (66.67%) of the 46,573 valid votes cast. Mr Ramkalawan got 9,098 votes (19.53%) and Mr Mancham 6,427 (13.80%) of the votes.
Rene wins again in 2001
After President Rene called for early presidential election in 2001 before the end of his mandate, he polled 54.19% of the valid votes cast with his main opposition rival, Seychelles National Party’s (NP) Wavel Ramkalawan winning 44.95%
The third contestant, independent candidate Philippe Boulle polled less than 1% of the votes
Out of the 51,145 votes cast during the election, which took place from August 31 to September 3, nine hundred and seven (907) were rejected. Mr Rene won 27,223 of the 50,238 valid votes, Mr Ramkalawan 22,581 and Mr Boullé 434.
Mr Rene won 16 of the 25 constituencies with Mr Ramkalawan taking nine (9).
James Michel wins Presidential election 2006
In what was the toughest race for the presidency the country has seen since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in Seychelles in 1992, the Seychellois people on Sunday July 30, 2006 elected President James Michel to lead the country for the next five years.
This choice by the people also reaffirmed their acceptance of the policies of the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) and their wish for continuity.
Appreciating this renewed trust and confidence of the people, President-elect Michel told the population after the results were announced by Electoral Commissioner Hendrick Gappy in the early hours of Monday morning that he will be the “President of every Seychellois”.
This year's Presidential election took place from July 28-30 with the majority of voters on the three main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue voting on Sunday.
A total of 56,787 voters, or 88.6 percent of eligible voters (64,026) turned up to cast their ballots in what was one of the biggest turnouts in a presidential election since 1992.
From the 56,787 votes cast, 56,059 were valid and 728 were rejected.
Mr Michel polled 30,119 votes which was 53.73 percent of the total valid votes cast whereas the main opposition candidate, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP)/Democratic Party (DP) alliance, collected 25,626 votes or 45.71 percent.
The remaining 314 valid votes went to independent candidate Mr Philippe Boullé for a 0.56 percentage.
President Michel's score was a few hundredths of a percent lower than the 54.19 percent polled by the then President France Albert Rene in the 2001 Presidential election when Mr Ramkalawan polled 44.95 percent.
In the July 30, 2006 election Mr Michel finished ahead of his two opponents in 16 electoral areas – Anse aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Royale, Baie Lazare, Baie Ste Anne, Bel Ombre, Cascade, English River, Grand Anse Mahe, Grand Anse Praslin, Inner Islands, Plaisance, Pointe Larue, Port Glaud, Roche Caïman and Takamaka.
Mr Ramkalawan won Anse Etoile, Au Cap, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Glacis, Les Mamelles, Mont Buxton, Mont Fleuri and St Louis.
Mr Michel, voted President for the first time on his own ticket – he took over from President France Albert Rene who stepped down in April 2004 – said his victory was a great moment for him and the people Seychelles.
Speaking before an audience including the two other candidates, diplomats and international observers, President-elect Michel called for national unity.
“I would like to say that I will be the President of every Seychellois. I will open my arms and my heart to every Seychellois and I will do my best with all my courage and determination to work for every Seychellois without discrimination,” said Mr Michel.
He said Seychelles is a small country in which the people live like in a big family.
“I believe that now is the time, despite our different political opinions, for a new beginning. We must all work together. We now have a unique opportunity for us to come together and work to bring Seychelles further. I pledge to work with all my determination, together with you, to bring further achievements for the country,” he told the nation.
President-elect Michel also wished for the country to remain peaceful and thanked the Electoral Commissioner and his staff for the good way in which they have conducted the election which initial reports from the international observers said has been largely free and fair.
"I would like also to thank the observers for being with us to observe the election, and all my supporters who have voted for me, for their confidence and this new mandate for me to continue the work that I started two years ago," he said.
As for Mr Ramkalawan, he said he will accept the results and urged Mr Michel to follow through on his promises to govern fairly.
"The results have been declared, a victor has been named and as a true democrat, I respect the results. I do hope that what Mr Michel has just said are indeed words that come from the heart, words full of sincerity and I do hope that indeed Mr Michel treats every Seychellois fairly," Mr Ramkalawan said.
He added that he hopes this new mandate will "indeed be a new beginning. This country needs a new beginning, this country is thirsty for justice, this country needs a complete turnaround”.
He said he hopes that Mr Michel will really have "a heart for every Seychellois" and that "every Seychellois will be treated like a Seychellois, will be given the same opportunities and indeed be given the chance to be what he wants to be”.
The result was Mr Ramkalawan's third defeat in presidential elections since the reintroduction of multiparty but said he will stay on as he believes the opposition has an important role to place in a democracy and added that he hopes the government will acknowledge and respect this importance.
As for Mr Boullé, he said his score of 314 votes shows clearly that "it is very, very tough to be an independent candidate in Seychelles”.
Despite that he said he enjoyed the campaign and is proud of those who found the courage to vote for him, adding that those voters wanted at all cost to put the wellbeing of the country and its people before everything else.
He wished the Seychellois well in the coming five years, saying they should "continue living in peace and enjoy Seychelles as much as you can in all the difficulties that it faces”.
He said the new government should be true to the mandate of being faithful to the people of Seychelles, be transparent, accountable and not to pay only lip service to the true values of democracy.
Michel re-elected for second five-year term in 2011
James Michel was re-elected for a second five-year term in a victory which he dedicated to the Seychellois people.
Mr Michel, leader of Parti Lepep, polled a total 31,966 or 55.46% of the popular vote, as compared to his nearest opponent, Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP) with 23,878 or 41.43%.
The two other candidates contesting the election scored less than 2%. Ralph Volcère of the New Democratic Party (NDP) scored 833 votes or 1.45% whereas independent candidate Philippe Boullé got 956 votes or 1.66%.
Still, Mr Ramkalawan emerged as the main loser of the presidential election, slipping from almost 46% in 2006 to 41%. This was his fourth failed bid for the presidency.
This became all the more obvious upon analysis of the results at district level, which showed Mr Ramkalawan beaten in his own constituency of Anse Etoile.
His vice-presidential running mate Nicholas Prea’s home constituency of Bel Ombre also fell to Parti Lepep.
Mr Michel’s Parti Lepep won 23 of the 25 electoral districts. SNP won only marginally at St Louis and Beau Vallon.
SNP, which since the 2001 presidential poll had enjoyed an average 44%, also saw such support slip away.
There was a 4,500 margin between Mr Michel and Mr Ramkalawan in 2006, this increased to over 8,000 with the 2011 result.
As for the other contenders, Mr Boullé trebled his score from 314 to 956 votes. This was Mr Boullé’s third unsuccessful bid in a presidential election as an independent candidate.
Mr Volcère, though at his first attempt, was expected to do better, but trailed Mr Boullé in fourth position with 833 votes.
The 2011 presidential election took place from May 19-21.
Michel wins again in second round in 2015
James Michel won the second round of the presidential election to be re-elected for a third and final five-year presidential term and he dedicated this victory to the Seychellois people whom he has vowed to serve.
The Parti Lepep leader polled a total 31,512 or 50.15% of the popular vote to beat Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP) who got 31,319 or 49.85%.
The margin of victory was 193 votes and this had decreased compared to 2011 when it was over 8,000.
“The people have spoken and made their decision. They want to continue on this same path of progress. This election has tested the political maturity of Seychellois democracy and after not one candidate could get the majority in the first round, we did in the second,” said President Michel who has thanked all his supporters, activists for their hard work.
He also focused on the need for all to work together for the benefit of our country Seychelles.
A total of 70,943 people were eligible to vote in all the 25 electoral areas to choose who between incumbent President James Michel of Parti Lepep and former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party would occupy the country’s highest office.
The total number of votes cast was 63,893 and the total in favour was 62,831. Therefore, a total of 1,062 votes were not in favour. The voter turnout was 90.1% and Les Mamelles had the highest turnout of 96.5% or 2,324 in a voting population of 2,408.
The Inner Islands with a voting population of 1,989 saw only 1,511 cast their votes as this was the lowest percentage of 76% among all 25 districts, but coincidentally it is where Parti Lepep pulled off its biggest score of 69.97%.
Mr Michel won in 13 districts – Anse Aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Royale, Baie Ste Anne, Cascade, English River, Grand Anse Mahé, Grand Anse Praslin, Inner Islands, Pointe Larue, Port Glaud, Roche Caïman and Takamaka.
As for Mr Ramkalawan he won in Anse Etoile, Au Cap, Baie Lazare, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Bel Ombre, Glacis, Les Mamelles, Mont Buxton, Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, and St Louis.
Mr Ramkalawan registered his biggest score – 58.79% – in St Louis.
For Mr Ramkalawan this was the fifth unsuccessful attempt to capture the State House after also suffering defeats in 1998 (to former President France Albert Rene), 2001 (to former President France Albert Rene), 2006 (to incumbent President James Michel) and 2011 (to incumbent President James Michel).
He described the election as an “auction” as he said “it was a matter of how much was paid out to voters”.
Mr Ramkalawan, who said that he does not accept the results of this election, explained that all these irregularities had been placed before the electoral commission.
This was also the first time in the history of Seychelles that a president was elected into office after a run-off.
After none of the six candidates got the required 50 percent plus one votes that was needed for an outright majority during the first round of voting from December 3-5, a second round was needed to decide between the two highest vote getters.
Mr Michel got 47.76% in the first round and Mr Ramkalawan 35.33%.
In the first round, theSeychellois voters set the stage for a historic and bruising presidential run-off after none of the six candidates could pull off the 50% plus one vote for an outright majority.
This was the first time since the return of multi-party democracy in Seychelles in 1993 that the presidential election went into a second round.
As the second round had to take place between seven and 14 days after the first, the Electoral Commission said Seychellois who were eligible to vote would be called upon again to choose between incumbent President Michel and long-time rival Ramkalawan in the second round from December 16-18.
Out of the 70,943 eligible voters, there were a total of 62,004 votes cast among which 60,538 were valid votes and 1,466 rejected ballots. The voter turnout was 87.4%.
Incumbent President, 71-year-old Michel who won 28,911 votes (47.76%), said the result showed that Parti Lepep was still dominant.
“We got more votes than any other party. We missed by only two percent. We are ready for the second round,” said Mr Michel.
Mr Michel’s closest challenger was 54-year-old Anglican priest Ramkalawan who scored 21,391 votes (35.33%).
Mr Ramkalawan thanked the other opposition parties and his voters for helping force a second round for the first time ever and said “with 52.23% of the votes the opposition has more supporters”.
He added: “Michel, we will come after you as the army of the opposition.”
Mr Michel scored more than 50% in seven out of the 25 districts with the highest score of 68.40% (1,186 out of a possible 1,734) coming from the inner islands. The other six districts where he won more than 50% were Baie Ste Anne (57.51%), Cascade (53.12%), Grand Anse Praslin (50.83%), Pointe Larue (52.38%), Roche Caïman (52.78%) and Takamaka (53.16%).
This represented 17 districts fewer than in 2011 when he won all but two districts to total 31,966 votes (55.46%) to be re-elected President for a second five-year term. Mr Michel’s poorest score was registered in St Louis with 877 votes (40.21%) out of a possible 1,683 votes.
As for Mr Ramkalawan, he also got fewer votes than in 2011 when he totalled 23,878 (41.43%) and after scoring more than 50% once then – 53.10% at St Louis – he did not go over the 50% margin this time as his best percentage score was 46.86% again at St Louis after he amassed 1,022 of a possible 1,683 votes. He also beat Mr Michel in Beau Vallon 43.15% to 41.23%.
Mr Ramkalawan’s lowest score was from the inner islands – 398 votes out of a possible 1,734 (22.95%).
The margin between Mr Michel and Mr Ramkalawan is 7,520 votes – 568 less than in 2011 when the former beat the latter by 8,088 votes (31,966 against 23,878).
The scores of the four other candidates in the first round were as follows: Patrick Pillay of Lalyans Seselwa (8,593 votes for 14.19%), Alexia Amesbury of the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy (832 votes for 1.37%), independent candidate Philippe Boullé (411 votes for 0.68%) and David Pierre of the Popular Democratic Movement (400 votes for 0.66%).
Mr Pillay, a former minister and ambassador in the Parti Lepep government, lawyer Amesbury, the first female presidential candidate in the history of Seychelles, and Mr Pierre, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, were running for the presidency for the first time.
Of the three new entrants, Mr Pillay drew away more support from the two main parties – Parti Lepep and Seychelles National Party – with his score of 8,593 votes (14.19%).
Dividing Mr Pillay’s percentage into two and giving those to the two main parties would mean a win for Parti Lepep with a score of 54.85% and the Seychelles National Party would have finished with 42.42%.
This was Mr Boullé’s fourth unsuccessful bid in a presidential election as an independent candidate and his score dropped from 956 in 2011 to 411 in 2015, while Mr Pierre was the biggest loser with just 400 votes to finish last in the race involving six candidates.
Faure succeeds Michel
On October 16, 2016, Danny Faure, who had been Vice-president since 2020, took the oath of allegiance and the presidential oath after President James Michel had announced his resignation on September 27, 2016.
Mr Michel resigned less than a year into his third term and in a televised address on Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation’s 8pm Creole bulletin he said: “Many decisions were made this year. One of the decisions was the amendment to the Constitution to limit the terms of the President to two mandates. And tonight I am announcing my decision to resign from the post of President of the Republic.”
Ramkalawan wins at sixth attempt
Running for the presidency for the sixth time, opposition candidate Wavel Ramkalawan won the highest seat with a 54.9 percent of valid votes cast, upsetting incumbent President Danny Faure in the October 22-24, 2020 election.
Mr Ramkalwan won a total of 35,562 votes out of the 64,761 valid votes cast.
He won in 22 of the 26 electoral areas ‒ Anse Aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Etoile, Anse Royale, Au Cap, Baie Lazare, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Bel Ombre, Cascade, English River, Glacis, Grand Anse Mahé, Grand Anse Praslin, Les Mamelles, Mont Buxton, Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, Pointe Larue, Port Glaud, St Louis and Takamaka.
As for Danny Faure of United Seychelles (US), he won 28,178 votes (43.5%) and took victory in four districts ‒ Baie Ste Anne, Ile Persévérance, Inner islands and Roche Caïman.
A third candidate, Alain St Ange of One Seychelles, won 1,021 votes (1.6%) in his first attempt at challenging for the presidency.
Supporters of Mr Ramkalawan started celebrating his victory in the capital, Victoria as early as 5.15am.
A total of 66,017 votes were cast out of the 74,634 people who were eligible to vote in the three-day presidency and legislative election which started from Thursday to Saturday, October 22-24, 2020.
In his victory speech, Ramkalawan thanked his supporters for "the experience we have been through these past few days and the results we got. I would like to firstly say that we should not look at it as a victory for a political party. Through the results, the people of Seychelles give us a lot of responsibility”.
Mr Ramkalawan, 59, also commended the Electoral Commission for "a wonderful job regardless of the challenges faced. As a new Electoral Commission, you were tasked with not only overseeing one but two elections in one go. The last time the country did such an exercise was back in 1998."
He was also conciliatory towards Mr Faure, saying there were no losers or winners.
"Mr Faure and I are very good friends and an election does not mean the end of one's contribution to one's motherland. Our theme is Seychelles for all her children. So, President Faure, I'd like to thank you for all the work you've done for our country... I look forward to your continued contribution to the development of our motherland," said Mr Ramkalawan.
As for Mr Faure, who took over when former President James Michel resigned in October 2016, he said, "We have heard the voices of the people of Seychelles who have decided. I accept the decision and wish of the people through this election. I congratulate Mr Ramkalawan as the newly elected president of the Republic of Seychelles. I wish you all the best...You can count on me because Danny will continue to live in Seychelles. Anytime someone needs my advice, Danny will be there.”
United Seychelles formerly Parti Lepep, Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) and Seychelles People's United Party (SPUP) has been in power since June 5, 1977.
Compiled by Gerard Govinden