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National Assembly

Assembly adjourns debate on Referendum Bill |18 July 2019

Debate has been adjourned on a bill tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday seeking to reinforce the legal framework relating to the holding of a referendum.

The adjournment was decided after members voted 12 in favour and none against following a whole day of heated debate on the matter yesterday.

The Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) members argued that the proposed bill is giving too much power to the President when it comes to deciding on and calling a referendum and at the same time they stressed that there was no urgency to rush the bill through the Assembly.

They also stated that the country has many other more pressing matters that need addressing through a bill which have been pending for a long time. Such matters include more powers to the Anti-Corruption Commission, the issue of the 5% public salary increase, among others.

Jean-François Ferrari for his part stressed that referendum reflects the views of the leaders and not those of the people and their priorities do not match those of the people and their needs, hence the need to beware of the consequences of such a piece of legislation as there are many examples in the world to illustrate this.

For his part the leader of the opposition Wavel Ramkalawan proposed that other bodies like the Human Rights Commission in the name of the people decides on the issue of referendum and not the president.

For their part United Seychelles members argued in favour of the Bill and the urgency for the president to give power to the people to decide on such an important issue through a referendum and that the bill if approved will strengthen our democracy.

The leader of government business Charles de Commarmond strongly argued that if the Bill had found its way on the order paper of the Assembly to be debated it means that the ABC and the Bills Committees had found no problem with it.

VP Meriton, who tabled the Bill and followed the debate, agreed for an adjournment of debate to allow all parties concerned time to consider different amendments that had been proposed by members of both house until they reach a compromise as to how best to move forward to give the country a good piece of legislation in relation to the holding of a referendum.

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