The peaceful transition of power - 2020 |12 November 2020
A hallmark in the history of Seychelles
A peaceful transition or transfer of power is a concept important to democratic governments, where the leadership of a government peacefully hands over control of government to a newly elected or selected leadership.This transfer of power is a fine-tuned machine that ensures that there is always someone to lead the country.
In the Republic of Seychelles, a presidential transition is the process during which the powers of the president of Seychelles are transferred from an incumbent president to the president-elect. The transition formally takes place between Election Day, (which is yet to be set and define in the Seychelles’ Law), every five (5) years, and Inauguration Day, when the incoming president takes the oath of office. The planning for transition though, can start at any time before the election.
On the heels of his historical defeat in this year’s election though the ballot boxes; outgoing President Danny Faure opted to set an important model. His departure from the Office of the President marked the first peaceful transfer of power between political opponents in the Republic of Seychelles, now viewed as a hallmark of the nation’s democracy. Even as the loser and in accepting the results of the historical elections, the incumbent President Faurehas willingly and peacefully surrendered power to the winner – President-elect Wavel Ramkalawan, despite whatever personal animosity or political divisions that could exist.
For the past 43 years, the transition of power had gone through the system of ‘pass the baton’ and the transition has remained within the party-line.
Transition of power: What the term traditionally refers to is the process by which one president’s administration turns over power to the next. If the process is peaceful, the existing administration openly acknowledges who won the election and cooperates with the incoming administration in the necessary ways – for example, by sharing intelligence briefings and vacating The State House. Seychelles needs to lay out the governing rules in this new era for a peaceful presidential transition. As per CEPS Election Observation Report, there is a paramount need to review the Elections Acts to make provisions for transition of power.
Peaceful transition of power: This was done in the most remarkable manner this year 2020, whereby on behalf of the people of Seychelles, President-elect Wavel Ramkalawan thanked former President Danny Faure (also present at the ‘swearing in’ ceremony of the new ministers), for serving his country during his Presidency with competence, loyalty and love.
He underlined how as two leaders they had lengthily discussed ‘how to unite the people of Seychelles’ and the way forward in the best interest of the nation.
During the ceremony, President Ramkalawan announced that former President Faure will continue to serve as an Ambassador for Seychelles and represent him and the country on official overseas missions.
He further expressed the hope that their strong relations serve as an example for the people of Seychelles.
Prior to his departure from State House thereafter, former President Faure greeted the new cabinet of ministers after which under full Presidential salute by the Guard of Honour he was accompanied by President Ramkalawan to his vehicle
- a credible example to the rest of the World.
As we are now post-election days, the results of this presidential and parliamentary elections will be carved into our History. Both sides worried that should their candidates fail to win, the worst will befall the country. Though the rhetoric was heated, most Seychellois headed to the polls early and in a record breaking turnout. The civil society and other NGOs along with the media advocated for a President to be elected without violence and insurrection. Solemnly so, this historical elections 2020 were conducted in a credible, transparent, free and fair atmosphere to the appreciation of the International bodies and countries. We, as Seychellois as we are, declare that this peaceful transition of government will remain a hallmark in the History of Seychelles as we witnessed the opening of a ‘New Chapter’ in our democracy.
The inauguration, a ceremonial induction into office, symbolically brings together all three branches of the Seychelles when the Chief Justice (judicial branch) of the Republic of Seychelles administers the oath of office to the President-elect (executive branch) at the State House, whereby the Parliamentarians (legislative branch) were also in attendance. The ceremony includes the swearing-in of the President as well as the presidential address to the nation.
Finally, the ‘Office of the National Unity Advocate’ calls on the Electoral Commission to start the process of formalising the date(s) of the Election(s) for the next five years and also enact the governing peaceful transition process in the Seychelles’ Law. We pray that GOD will continue to bless our beloved country Seychelles as we continue to work together in UNITY with the President elect, the vice-president, the leaders and people of Seychelles to ensure a peaceful and enduring economy is rebuilt post Covid-19.
Jacob Terence Madeleine
Writer, National Unity Advocate