The current opposition candidate and Anglican priest Wavel Ramkalawan of the LDS has won the elections in Seychelles. He won both presidential as well as parliamentary elections, early reports by Seychelles media said. This is a huge victory for the opposition party to take charge of the country after three decades.
Wavel Ramkalawan was born in Mahé, the principal island of Seychelles. He was born into a modest family, the youngest of three children. His grandfather was from Gopalganj, Bihar. His father was a metalworker and his mother a teacher. Ramkalawan’s primary and secondary education were at Seychelles College, the elite boys’ school of the country. Ramkalawan was ordained a priest in 1985 following theological studies at St Paul’s Theological College in Mauritius, and thereafter followed further studies in theology at Birmingham University. Returning to Seychelles, he worked in several parishes in Seychelles, rising to become priest-in-charge of the parish of Holy Saviour.
When the government, under pressure both internally and from abroad, returned the country to multi-party democracy in 1992, Parti Seselwa was the first political party to register and join the ranks of others in opposition to the government. It immediately set to work and participated in elections for representation on the 1992 constitutional commission, polling only 4% of the national vote and not qualifying for representation on the commission. Subsequently, to the coming into force of the new constitution in 1993, two other opposition parties joined Parti Seselwa to form The United Opposition (UO) and to contest the 1993 general elections. The party won 9% of the vote, enabling it to appoint one member (Ramkalawan) to the National Assembly.
In 1998, Ramkalawan led his party into the second multi-party general elections. The party polled 27% of the national vote and increased its National Assembly representation to three, beating the Democratic Party of former late President James Mancham into third place. Ramkalawan became the first directly elected member of the party in the Assembly, winning his home constituency of St Louis, which he has represented continuously since. In addition, he was elected Leader of the Opposition, a post he continues to hold.
In the 2001 presidential elections, Ramkalawan polled 45% of the vote, thus losing to the 54% vote won by President René. The next year, Ramkalawan led his party, now renamed the Seychelles National Party (SNP), into the National Assembly elections. The party increased its parliamentary representation from one directly elected member to seven and from two proportionally elected members to four.
Since 1998, Ramkalawan has been the leader of the Opposition. In 2005, Ramkalawan took a sabbatical from his clerical duties in order to devote himself fully to his political life at a crucial and important point in the country’s affairs. In the 2006 presidential elections, however, Ramkalawan lost to James Michel.
Mr. Ramkalawan will now be the next president of the Republic of the Seychelles.
The third candidate for the Seychelles Presidential election was Alain St. Ange, a former minister of tourism under President Michel’s government Mr. St. Ange has been the ambassador for eTurboNews since 2007, and is also the current president of the African Tourism Board (ATB).
Juergen Steinmetz, who is the publisher of eTurboNews and also a member of the ATB Executive Board, and co-founder of the recently announced World Tourism Network said: ” Alain gave it his all, and it is what counts. Regardless of who is president, Seychelles has been a friend and partner for eTurboNews and an important member also of the African Tourism Industry. We are confident this won’t change under the new leadership in Victoria. I like to congratulate President-Elect Wavel Ramkalawan.
I also hope Mr. St. Ange will find his place within the Seychelles Tourism World since travel and tourism are part of Mr. St. Ange’s gene. His global mindset and the hard work of Seychelles Tourism Board CEO Sherin Frances has helped to bring this Island Republic to the forefront of the global travel and tourism industry. It takes everyone to maneuver through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.”
Ibrahim, organizer of the Tourism Investment Forum told St.Ange:
Even if you have not been elected, the effort you have personally made to run for this election is already a victory and a new voice to your nation!
Kalo from the African Media in Lagos Nigeria said: Mr. St Ange will move on. This is just a starting point. He can still try another time. All the best to Seychelles. We need him and people like him to drive African tourism to the promised land.
Walter Mzembi, former Foreign and Tourism Minister of Zimbabwe said:
Congratulations Alain for a resilient run , you have not lost , you are still in the running , Mr Ramkalawan had a 30 year bid before he successfully clinched it , it will be yours next keep the interest alive ! Thank you for conceding and moving the country forward. Best wishes for the future !
Alain St. Ange issued this statement on Sunday morning:
I am so very grateful for my team who worked and fought alongside me for so long, who were committed to delivering for our people. To my family and friends, thank you for always believing in me and supporting me. With you by my side, I am always a winner. To my MNA candidates, do not be discouraged. I am so proud of you and I am so happy to have shared this journey with each of you.
If you never try, you’ll never know. Life is too short for what-ifs. I have tried, and though I did not succeed in leading the Country, I hope that I have succeeded in planting a seed. It is my greatest wish that others will feel inspired to go against the grain, to stop merely complaining about the system and actually doing something to change it.
I implore Seychellois to proceed into this new era peacefully and with integrity, humility, and to remember that once the dust has settled, we will all have to engage with one another in some capacity. Life will go on, and those who have been spreading hate and abuse online for months will find themselves very lonely indeed when they find their purpose is no longer necessary. Our nationality has been diluted as politics has steadily divided us, and this is something we must actively work to rebuild. Let us keep moving forwards, always.
To Mr. Ramkalawan who has been victorious after a 30-year long bid for higher office, the people have spoken. We implore you to lead with integrity and to encourage your followers to practice what has been preached when it comes to unity, peace and putting the People’s needs first. To the People of Seychelles, you have a duty to hold your politician accountable for each and every promise that has been made. A President’s purpose is to serve the people, not rule over them.
I apologize for not being present this morning, but it has been a long and arduous wait, and the only place I need to be right now is with my wonderful family.