State and politics
The Seychelles became independent from the United Kingdom
in 1976 and a member of the Commonwealth. 1979–93 one-party
system prevailed. Even after the reintroduction of
democracy, the previously only legal party of Seychelles
People's Progressive Front (SPPF; since 2009 Party
Lepep) has been dominant.
A new, democratic constitution was adopted in 1993
following a referendum. The president is elected by
universal suffrage for five years; after a constitutional
change in 2016, the number of terms of office is limited to
two. The president is the head of state, head of government
and commander-in-chief and also appoints the members of the
government and appoints certain senior officials and judges.
In 2017, a constitutional amendment was introduced that
makes it mandatory for new elections in the event a sitting
president dies, resigns or is dismissed from office. The
rule was added since it happened twice during the 2000s that
a president resigned and surrendered power to the vice
president. All four presidents since independence have been
The Parliament (National Assembly) has up to 35 members.
Of these, 25 are elected in majority elections in one-man
constituencies and the others are distributed according to a
proportional system between parties that received at least
10 percent of the votes in the last elections. After the
2016 election, Parliament had 33 members, seven (21 percent)
of whom were women. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how SC can stand for Seychelles.
After a coup d'état in 1977, Prime Minister France-Albert
René was appointed President. Two years later, a new
constitution was adopted by which the Seychelles were
transformed into a one-party state with socialist forks. The
only legal party until December 1991 was the Seychelles
People's Progressive Front (SPPF), which in 2009
changed its name to Party Lepep (PL, the 'People's
SPPF/PL retained while their dominance and got a
majority in parliament in elections in 2002 and 2007. The
Democratic Party (DP, since 2009, the New
Democratic Party, NDP), which ruled the Seychelles
until 1977, lost their seats in parliament in the 2002
election, then The Seychelles National Party (SNP)
took over the position of leading opposition party.
After almost 27 years in power, René resigned in February
2004 and handed over the presidential post to James Michel.
He won the presidential elections in 2006 and 2011 with 54
percent and 55 percent of the votes, respectively. In 2011,
the SNP accused the government of electoral fraud and
refused to participate in parliamentary work. The
parliamentary elections scheduled for 2012 were premiered
and held in the fall of 2011, but SNP and NDP boycotted the
election and PL received 89 percent of the vote. The newly
formed Party Popular Democratic Front (PDM), before
the election, received 11 percent of the vote but
nevertheless not a single mandate, which is why PL
completely lacked opposition in Parliament.
Michel ran for another term in the 2015 elections. He
clearly got the most votes in the first round of elections,
but in the second it was extremely even between him and the
SNP candidate Wavel Ramkalawan. The official result showed
that Michel won with 50.15 percent of the vote, which
corresponded to only 193 votes. The following year,
Parliament approved a constitutional amendment proposed by
Michel, which means that the President may only sit for two
terms. In October 2016, Michel resigned and was succeeded by
his Vice President, Danny Faure. The month before, Parti
Lepep lost a parliamentary election for the first time.
Coalition Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS,
'Seychelles Democratic Alliance'), formed before the
election of the SNP and four smaller parties, received 19
out of 33 seats while the PL had to settle for 14.
The Seychelles legal system is based on a mixture of
French and English legal traditions. When the Seychelles
transitioned from French to British supremacy, French law
was applied to the islands, including the Napoleonic Civil
Code (Code Civil). English law gradually gained more
influence, and in 1975 a domestic English-speaking civil law
was issued, which, however, largely still follows the
principles, structure and style of the French civil law. The
judiciary consists of the Magistrates' Courts, the
Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. The
death penalty was abolished in 1993.
Heads of State
||James R. Mancham