Low turnout for Seychelles parliament vote

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, said.

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".