Seychelles. Following the victory of the SPPF (according to Countryaah.com, Seychelles Independence Day is June 29. Seychelles People’s Progressive Front) ruling party in the December 2002 parliamentary elections, it was increasingly speculated that President France Albert René would leave power prematurely. Already in March 2003, Vice President James Michel was named SPPF’s candidate in the next presidential election. He also took over several tasks from René, who, however, remained on the presidential post at the end of the year.
In order to reduce the deficit in the state budget, a new VAT of 12% was introduced. In addition, due to the poor economy, Seychelles closed some of its embassies and joined the SADC (Southern African Development Community) and IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association). At the same time, the government decided to abolish customs duties on 3,500 goods until 2006.
New government takes office
Most of Seychelles’ new government takes office. 13 ministers have been approved by parliament, five of whom are women. Vice President Ahmed Afif, who has already taken up his post, will also serve as Minister of Information. However, two ministers, Sylvestre Radegonde, who is in charge of foreign and tourism affairs, and Billy Rangasamy, who is in charge of land and housing issues, are in corona quarantine as they have recently arrived in the Seychelles from abroad. President Wavel Ramkalawan urges them to see themselves as ministers for all Seychelles and to counteract excessive bureaucracy.
Ramkalawan takes over as president
Wavel Ramkalawan takes over as President of the Seychelles. In connection with this, he urges unity and promises to try to strengthen the country’s economy, which has been hit hard by declining tourism during the ongoing Corina crisis. He also emphasizes that efforts against drug smuggling should be given priority and that no one should get away regardless of position in society.
The opposition wins the presidential election
The presidential election, which began on October 22, is won by the opposition. Political veteran Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles Democratic Alliance (LDS) gets almost 55 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent President Danny Faure of the United Seychelles, who gets 43.5 percent of the vote. The third candidate of the election, the former Minister of Tourism Alain Saint-Ange from One Seychelles, is far behind. This is the first time an opposition candidate has won a presidential election in the Seychelles. Ramkalawan lost the last presidential election in 2015 by a narrow margin and the following year his LDS became the largest party in the parliamentary elections. This time too, the LDS will be the largest party in parliament with 25 seats, ahead of the United Seychelles with ten seats. The issue that has engaged voters the most in this situation is the economy, not least due to lost revenue from tourism due to the corona pandemic. Saint-Ange profiles itself by promising the legalization of cannabis as a way of dealing with the major problems of heroin abuse (seeFebruary 2020) something Faure opposes.
The corona crisis is hitting the Seychelles’ economy
The corona pandemic is hitting the Seychelles’ economy hard, which looks set to shrink by more than 14 percent by 2020. An important reason for the problems is that different countries’ travel restrictions have hit the Seychelles’ economy hard, but this spring’s shutdown of society has also played a role. The hospitality and transport industries are particularly hard hit. Low exchange rates for the Seychelles rupee have also pushed up inflation.