Wednesday, December 23, 2015


The SNP says that it will leave no stone unturned as it contests the result of the election with the support of the other members of the Union for Change.

Two days after the results of the Presidential election were proclaimed, the opposition is maintaining its stance that the process was not free and fair and will therefore contest the outcome in the Constitutional Court. The party scored 31 319 votes compared to the 31 512 for Parti Lepep, a difference of 193 votes. During a press conference on Monday, the SNP’s Presidential candidate, Wavel Ramkalawan, vouched that the opposition will leave no stone unturned in its pursuit of the truth. “We owe it to our supporters. We are not making a fuss for nothing, we want the truth”, he said. Mr Ramkalawan promised that the opposition will explore all legal avenues, both locally and internationally, to resolve the matter.

He said that the opposition does not accept the results as the election was marred by “a dirty campaign where state resources were abused and ID cards were bought to prevent voters from exercising their right and the ruling party used scaremongering tactics to influence voters into voting for them”.

He maintained that the election did not take place in “normal” circumstances: “If Mr Michel had won the election fair and square then we would not be meeting today and we would have accepted the results. This election was ours and we are not going to give in without a fight”. In fact, the SNP, in concert with the other political parties which backed it during the second round under the banner of the Union for Change, on Monday filed a petition requesting a recount of all votes cast during the runoff.

A letter to that effect was presented to the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Hendrick Gappy, right after the results were announced. Mr Ramkalawan said a recount was needed as there were “confirmed” irregularities in three districts, “meaning voting did not go well”. He cited the example of Anse aux Pins where two extra votes were unaccounted for and at least two votes were marked with a pen instead of a marker as required by law.

He also mentioned two other incidents of irregularities in Cascade where one vote was unaccounted for and in Glacis where the station was short by one vote compared to the number of people who had voted. Mr Ramkalawan said the opposition is positive that if there is a recount more discrepancies will be uncovered. He added that if a recount proves the results proclaimed did not tally then “we hope there will be a third round or fresh elections”.

The second petition, Mr Ramkalawan said, concerns the Constitution and he questioned whether “Mr Michel won 50% plus one vote as stipulated by Schedule 3 of the Constitution”. He cautioned that people should not draw parallels with the 2011 PDM case when the party led by David Pierre won a seat in parliament after contesting the results based on valid votes cast. “The Constitution and the law make different provisions for Presidential and parliamentary elections and we should not let ourselves be confused by this”, explained Mr Ramkalawan.

He also announced that the opposition will submit an election petition which, according to the Constitution, can be filed within ten days of the election, and 14 days according to the Elections Act. “In this petition we will outline all the illegal practices that took place prior and during polling day”, he said, adding the document will contain evidence of vote buying and other illegal practices which were brought to their attention.

In the event that the petition is accepted by the court, the election will be declared null and void making way for a third round or fresh elections. Mr Ramkalawan said the election petition will seek fresh elections so that Seychellois people can “express themselves freely in a clean campaign without the illegal practices that were observed in the second round”. When asked why the party is filing so many cases, Mr Ramkalawan said the opposition is making use of all the legal options to show how serious it is about the issue.

On the issue of whether the swearing in should have taken place on Sunday Mr Ramkalawan said that although the opposition does not accept the outcome, they recognize that the Constitution states that the winner must be sworn in within 48 hours after the results have been proclaimed. Mr Ramkalawan used an example of an athlete to explain what can take place if the results are declared null and void. “When an athlete is accused of doping, his or her results are maintained until evidence is finalized and then the athlete is stripped of his or her medal. So this is the state we find ourselves in today”.

As to how long the case might last, the former presidential candidate and leader of Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy, Alexia Amesbury, explained that such cases are usually fast tracked and dealt with in a swift manner. The press conference at Arpent Vert was attended by the other former Presidential candidates who backed the SNP in the runoff, namely Patrick Pillay, Alexia Amesbury, and Philippe BoullĂ©. Also in attendance were the SNP’s Vice Presidential candidate, Roger Mancienne, Roy Fonseka and Ahmed Afif from SPSD and Lalyans Seselwa respectively, as well as representatives of the British High Commission and the American Embassy.

Source:Today in Seychelles