LINYON DEMOKRATIK SESELWA

Send Your Query

info@lds.sc
c
all +(248) 4321122

A large crowd of LDS supporters gathered on Sunday June 02, at Amitye, to hear party leaders on current topics and the forhcoming Presidential election. Popular artistes led the crowd in party songs. 

LDS member of the National Assembly, led by Leader of the Opposition Wavel Ramkalawan, had on Saturday visited residents in Baie Ste. Anne district, to hear of their concerns.

The decision of President Danny Faure to withdraw the request for the Electoral Commission to proceed immediately with a referendum on the issue of non-resident Seychellois citizens voting in national elections was necessary. It averts a serious breach of the Constitution implicit in his request.

LDS has maintained that the Constitution requires an Act to etablish the legitimacy of the referendum. The request for the Electoral Commission to proceed without one was a grave error and a blatant disregard of the rule of law.

LDS holds however that what is required is not “legislation relating to the holding of referenda in Seychelles”, as indicated in the statement from the President’s office today. What Article 164 of the Constitution requires is a specific Act that applies to the issue in question. Such Act is needed to establish in law the question that is to be put to the voters, the manner in which the results are to be interpreted such as the percentage of the vote required for approval of the issue, and the consequences of the vote. It is these critical elements that are not covered in the Elections Act and which can only be established in an Act specific to the issue. It is to be noted that the existing Elections Act already provides for the manner in which voting in referenda is to be organised and conducted.

While a specific Act under Article 164 is in conformity with the Constitution, LDS ontinues to question whether a referendum on the stated issue is required at this point. The right for all Seychellois citizens to vote is already enshrined in the Constitution and the Elections Act provides for a manner in which they can be registered. Many Seychellois residing overseas are already registered as voters. Before any change is sought in the Constitution or the law, there must be a thorough examination of what changes can and should be made, and to what consequence.

The Electoral Commission is already tasked with implementing a number of reforms to the Electoral procedures and regulations to enable national elections, in particular the forthcoming Presidential election, to be free, fair and fully credible. The question whether the proposed referendum is a justifiable priority in terms of expense and resources at this time is of importance.

LDS will continue to weigh all considerations for the issue to be decided in the best interest of our democracy and the rights of our citizens.

Roger Mancienne                                                                                                         June 03, 2019

Party Leader

We have taken note of the request by President Danny Faure for a referendum on the above issue. I submit the position of LDS on this for your consideration.

We believe the request to the Electoral Commission at this stage is inappopriate and should not proceed.

Article 164 of the Constitution states that where a referendum is required “An Act may provide for all matters necessary for the purpose of ensuring an effective and fair referendum”. We place great emphasis on the need for the exercise to be ‘effective and fair’. This can only be achieved with a specific Act that will clearly lay out the issue and how the vote will be interpreted. It will not be justifiable for the President to rely on Article 54 of the Elections Act. Attorney-General Frank Ally has pointed out publicly the ambiguity on whether this section provides sufficient basis for a referendum on the present issue.

One critical point is the threshold for approval of the issue put before the voters. The President has stated that this should be 60%. This is entirely arbitrary. Article 91 of the Constitution gives that number for a refrendum on certain particular provisions of the Constitution but it is clear that this does not apply to Article 114 in which the subject of residency is referred to.

The wording of the referendum needs to be judiciously and securely phrased if it is to accepted as ‘effective and fair’. Furthermore, there is the question of whether this is to be approved by a certain majority of persons voting in the referendum or of all registered voters.

These matters cannot be specified except through an Act, as Article 164 stipulates. It is our view that the Electoral Commission cannot proceed on this without the Act.

As the President himself has noted, the issue of registration of overseas residents has already been proposed by the Electoral Commission. But, before the question is put to referendum, there are a number of points to be clarified. One of these, a point of great public concern, is the number of foreign nationals overseas who have been given Seychellois nationality without even setting foot in Seychelles. It is clear that Seychellois residents in general feel that giving them citizenship was illegal and immoral and will therefore not accept that their status is normalised through inclusion on the Voters Register even if they should come forward to register.

LDS believes that many Seychellois residing overseas deserve to have their right to vote recognised. These include people who were forced to leave the country as result of the 1977 coup d’etat. There are also people with very close ties to Seychelles, with family or property, who may not have been able to register in the past. On the other hand, there are many who have no connection with Seychelles. Seychellois voters today would like to know if a distinction can be made in terms of who should be entitled to be registered. It would be unfair and not effective for Seychellois voters to be called to a referendum without these issues having been clarified. In other words, the Electoral Commission should be able to make a clear proposal before putting the question to voters.

Our concern is that without attention to the matters we have raised above, a referendum will be a meaningless exercise. It will not allow Seychellois to vote with clarity and without an Act for the purpose, the outcome will not be justifiable under the Constitution. It would therefore be a great waste of resources

Our concern is that without attention to the matters we have raised above, a referendum will be a meaningless exercise. It will not allow Seychellois to vote with clarity and without an Act for the purpose, the outcome will not be justifiable under the Constitution. It would therefore be a great waste of resources when the Electoral Commission has many other urgent needs to attend to.

I emphasise that the right of Seychellois citizens to participate in national affairs is enshrined in the Constitution and a denial of this right to those who deserve it, by a hasty and unsound referendum, would be a great injustice. It is therefore of paramount importance for the Electoral Commission to ensure that the issue of registration of voters is managed with full attention to legality and natural justice, and once again, to be ‘effective and fair’.

Roger Mancienne                                  May 29, 2016 

Party Leader

The Constitution of Seychelles gives all Seychellois citizens the right to participate in national affairs, which includes the right to vote in national elections. LDS will support and promote that right. It is also committed to enabling all Seychellois citizens to exercise that right.

LDS believes however that statements made by President Danny Faure on May 27, 2019, and the referendum proposed to decide whether citizens residing overseas can vote is not in accordance with the Constitution and the law. The proposal is unsound and objectionable simply because it departs from the crucial principle of the Rule of Law. A referendum to decide on an issue of national importance is justifiable but must be organised in conformity with the law.

Citizens of Seychelles living overseas have not been able to vote at will in our elections only because they are disqualified to register as voters under the Elections Act unless they have been issued with a National Identity Card and have resided in an electoral area for at least three months immediately prior to registration. Amendment to the Elections Act and the National Identity Card Act would be sufficient to permit Seychellois overseas residents from registering and voting.

Therefore, Mr. Faure’s contention that the issue in question needs to be decided by a Constitutional Amendment through a referendum is wrong. It only requires amendment of the Elections Act and the National Idendity Card Act.

While Article 54 of the Elections Act does give the President a prerogative to call for a referendum it only does so when an issue is required to be so decided.

54. Reference of issue to Electoral Commission.

Where any issue is required to be determined at a referendum, the President shall refer the issue to the Electoral Commission for the holding of a referendum.

In the present case it is clearly not. The article of the Constitution (Article 114) which refers to this issue is not one of those provisions which can only be amended by the National Assembly after it has been approved by 60% of votes in a referendum. Article 91 of the Constitution which provides for referendum applies only to Chapter 1 and 3 and articles 110 and 111 of the Constitution.

President Faure has no power to determine that the referendum must be decided by a 60% majority, and the Electoral Commission cannot assume that power. This can only be done by a law.

A referendum can only be directed by an Act, and under Article 85 of the Constitution, it is only the National Assembly which is vested with legislative power. LDS holds that the organisation of a referendum can only be based on a law passed by the National Assembly. Since the power claimed by the President under the Elections Act is not applicable in this instance, the President should bring the matter to the National Assembly.

LDS will be communicating its views on this matter to the Electoral Commission for its urgent consideration.

LDS also has concerns about foreign nationals residing overeas who have been given been given Seychellois citizenship in the past and believes that such issues must be considered in bringing any measures that would allow such persons to exercise the right to vote.

Roger Mancienne May 28, 2019

Party Leader

LDS Secretariat

ADDRESS:  Lakaz Seselwa Mont Fleuri    |     OFFICE TEL 4321122  |     EMAIL : info@lds.sc

© 2018 Linyon Demokratik Seselwa. All Rights Reserved. Designed By Unified Technologies

Search