Low turnout for Seychelles parliament vote
Victoria (Seychelles): Voters in the Indian
Ocean state of the Seychelles trickled to polling stations in
small numbers today for a parliamentary election boycotted by
the main opposition party.
With only around 70,000 voters scattered over 115
islands, polling started on Thursday on some of the outer
islands but voting on the three main islands began today.
"These elections are taking place smoothly as expected.
It is true there is less enthusiasm than for the presidential
poll," President James Michel, who was re-elected in May,
Michel, who has been in power since 2004, dissolved
parliament in July following his re-election, which the
opposition charged came through an unfair ballot.
The opposition Seychelles National Party, which has 11
seats in parliament while Michel's Seychelles People's
Progressive Front controls all remaining 14, decided to
boycott the legislative poll.
"Following the May presidential election won by President
James Michel, the Seychelles National Party has found that the
conditions for a free poll have not been met," SNP secretary
general Roger Mancienne said in a statement.
He said a lack of electoral reforms meant that the ruling
party had too much of an advantage in the campaign and argued
he would consider any slump in turnout figures to be a victory
for his party.
The archipelago's voters can only choose from the ruling
party and the Popular Democratic Party, an opposition outfit
headed by former SNP official David Pierre and described by
Mancienne as "not credible".