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Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) held its Extraordinary Convention on Friday, 14 August at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) as they presented their candidates who will contest in the upcoming National Assembly (NA) election on 22, 23 and 24 October this year. The event was broadcasted live on YouTube amid health guidelines restricting the number of people attending the much-anticipated event.

 

To recall, President Danny Faure dissolved the National Assembly citing the financial savings of holding both the presidential and parliamentary elections together as the main reason for his controversial decision. Nevertheless, LDS strongly disagreed with the president’s decision to dissolve the NA and labelled it purely as a political manoeuvre rather than a national interest. This was even more evident when the Electoral Commission (EC) requested additional finance from the government to hold both elections simultaneously, therefore, one can only ask what financial savings were President Faure referring to?

 

As the event proceeded, all 26 candidates were presented to a jubilant crowd proudly cheering them on and those watching the event live on YouTube. Each candidate pronounced their continued dedication and determination to bring about change to Seychelles where each and everyone will have the same opportunities and a better Seychelles for all its children. The candidates were full of energy and enthusiasm as they thanked everyone who has supported and endorsed them, ultimately being entrusted with the future of each district in their capable hands.

 

In addressing the audience, Party Leader of LDS, Roger Mancienne reflected on the current situation whereby “the National Assembly was dissolved nearly a whole year before the completion of its mandate, but irrespective, it was a National Assembly that made a historical contribution in the history of Seychelles and accomplished a lot. For the first time since the return of multi-party, the 6th National Assembly truly discharged its roles as merited in a democratic society and our Constitution. As a check and balance system for the government, it verified the work carried out and also how it was carried out but most importantly, it was done in a way that included the population of Seychelles and raised the standard in the process,” revealed Mancienne.

 

The night belonged to the 26 newly endorsed candidates and their team of activists who were never too far away, but a special mention cannot go amiss for the former members of the 6th National Assembly for their remarkable contributions acknowledged in the hope that their successes can be a guiding beacon and aspiration for the new candidates to deliver even more changes in the 7th National Assembly that will benefit Seychelles and all its children.

Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) will broadcast its Extraordinary Convention live on Facebook and YouTube from 5pm on Friday, 14 August 2020 at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS). All 26 candidates for the upcoming parliamentary election will be presented to the public.

In line with Public Health guidelines, only a small number of supporters will be able to attend the convention per district, therefore members of the public and LDS supporters alike who are unable to attend, are encouraged to watch the event live from the link below.

Click on the YouTube logo below to view the Livestream: -

 

  

Continuing in its fight to bring real democracy to Seychelles, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) is holding a series of district primaries, allowing LDS activists and supporters in their respective districts to vote for their preferred candidate to stand in the upcoming parliamentary election.

 

Speaking to Roger Mancienne, the Party Leader of LDS, he explained that, “the primaries are being held only in districts where party members came forward to contest the nomination. They have not been held in places where there was no contestation. The candidates are those who have declared their interest to run in the upcoming parliamentary election. 

 

In principle, anyone within LDS can put their intention forward to run for office, but we tend to look at the persons coming forward to seek a nomination. In this instance, all of those involved have been persons who were involved in party activities and are well-known to us. When it is different, the party would have to vet,” clarified Mancienne.

 

In explaining the process for selecting the candidate, Mancienne stated that “when a person who wished to be nominated approaches LDS to signify their intention. I then arrange a meeting for supporters in the respective district concerned and I also arrange for a voting procedure to take place. In one district, one of the two candidates involved withdrew his request before the meeting was held so we went ahead and held the meeting anyway and the remaining candidate was endorsed,” said Mancienne.

 

A total of six primaries have been conducted successfully so far, these include Anse Royale, Au Cap, Baie Ste Anne, Cascade, La Digue and Plaisance. It is not the first time LDS has conducted a district primary to select its candidates. In 2018, former MNA Philip Arissol was selected as the preferred candidate using the same method for the Anse Boileau by-election. During the Anse Royale primary, Flory Larue won comfortably to represent the district. On La Digue, Loncey Micock bested his opponent to be endorsed as the candidate for the inner island. Au Cap saw Kelly Saminadin winning the most votes to represent the district in the October election. Plaisance had three activists contesting for the candidacy, and Richard Labrosse won the primary. Lastly, the inhabitants of Port Glaud once again selected Godfra Hermitte as their candidate to represent them. 

 

This democratic exercise adopted by LDS aimed to promote transparency and true democracy in Seychelles by not just talking about it but by putting it into practice.

For the past twenty-odd years the ruling party has always used election timing for their own political advantage. Since the general elections of 1998, not once thereafter has the ruling party conducted elections in accordance with best international practice; that is, at the end of the stipulated mandate. With the ruling party losing popularity, post-1998 elections were scrupulously manipulated. Apart from ridiculous political decisions, mainly economic, to garner public opinion, the electoral register was tampered with to ensure desired effects in targeted districts.

Presidential elections were held in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2015. The 2015 presidential elections went into a second round as no candidate secured 50% of the popular votes in the first. National Assembly elections were held in 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2016. Results indicated the decline in support of the ruling party and incremental increases by the opposition leading to the opposition victory in the last National Assembly elections. In 2001, President Rene called presidential elections very early in his term and the National Assembly elections a year later with a view to handing over power to Mr. James Michel with the desired strong political support. 

Danny Faure takes over the baton

President Faure took over from Mr Michel at a politically difficult time for his party; Michel had been reelected under suspicious circumstances and public opinion was pitted against him. Furthermore, the opposition had a majority in the National Assembly and was in a position to impact fully on new legislation towards the democratization of institutions including putting an end to the practice of passing over power by the president.

In his many interviews, Mr Faure committed to allowing the presidential and National Assembly mandates to run their course and on one occasion categorically stated his intention not to dissolve the National Assembly. With dwindling public support and unease within the ranks of US, Mr Faure attempted a masterstroke with his decision to dissolve the National Assembly but the backlash has been immediate; even diehard supporters of his party believe it was the wrong decision at the wrong time.

The pandemic situation

With the worldwide pandemic and the looming changing environment requiring urgent national action including new laws to cope, it is certainly not the time to do away with the legislative body. Seychelles is already in a state of health emergency and like many other countries, a national emergency at any time becomes a real possibility. The declaration of a state of emergency requires the intervention of the National Assembly after it has been declared; it is a constitutional requirement. With the pandemic not showing signs of subsiding, in fact, new cases are on the increase, it becomes imperative that all arms of government are functional to deal with any eventuality. 

The need for a transition law

In keeping with international norms, Seychelles lacks a law or a set of rules to govern the peaceful and organized transition of power. The president, once elected, is sworn in less than 24 hours after the announcement of the results. This has been the adopted method since the reintroduction of the multiparty system. It did not pose any problems as it was the same party winning the elections. The coming elections will inevitably be different. Irrespective of what transpires, the country is in dire need of a transition law which could come about only if the National Assembly is existent. Will Mr Faure consider an alternate method to address this sensitive issue or will he opt to avoid it altogether?

Mr Faure had promised that a review of the Constitution would be before the National Assembly some two years ago but he has failed to keep his promise. Had he done so, a transition law would have possibly found its place in the amendments.

The people’s mandate

The representatives of the people were elected on a five-year mandate. Though the constitution makes provision for the president to dissolve the National Assembly, doing so without a valid reason in contemptuous to the will of the people. While it may be acceptable for the head of the executive to dissolve the National Assembly under specific circumstances, his ability to do so at his own whims and fancies does not bode well for democracy.

Job retention

Mr Faure made a commitment that no employee would lose their jobs during this critical time and gave guarantees that all employees would be taken care of. Unfortunately, Mr Faure, by dissolving the National Assembly, has made redundant over seventy persons who will be without a take-home salary. Did he take into account that he was literally denying elected representatives, including those from his party, their salaries for at least three months?

National Unity

Last but not least, Mr Faure has embarked, at least verbally, on a national unity drive; his platform for election. Dissolving the National Assembly at a time where national consultations are the order of the day in order to surmount the many challenges posed by the pandemic, is detrimental to the national effort. It shows a total lack of commitment towards inclusivity and a prelude to what is expected of his government should he be elected. His actions totally contradict his message. 

The dissolution of the National Assembly was not necessary and uncalled for. The political advantage sought by Faure with the dissolution may prove to be his worse political mistake. In case of a national emergency, will he rule by decree?

LDS Secretariat

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

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