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article imageSeychelles opposition win parliamentary vote

By AFP     Sep 10, 2016 in World

The opposition in the Seychelles has won parliamentary polls, putting it in control of the National Assembly for the first time in two decades, according to official results published Sunday.

The opposition coalition of the Seychellois Democratic Alliance (known by its creole acronym LDS) won 15 seats. The Parti Lepep, which has been in power since 1977, took the remaining 10.

The main opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) partnered with four smaller opposition parties -- together known as The Seychellois Alliance and made up of former leaders from the dominant Parti Lepep -- to strengthen its bid for power.

Before the result was announced President James Michel pledged to work with the newly elected legislature, which had been expected to slip from his party's control.

"My hope is that this spirit of consultation continues in the new National Assembly, where we all work together for the common good of our nation," said Michel.

The results were announced in the early hours of Sunday morning, and just a few scattered groups of opposition supporters took to the streets of the capital Victoria to celebrate the victory, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

The vote in the tourism-dependent archipelago nation of 115 islands took place over three days, ending Saturday.

Voting began on the islands furthest away from the main island of Mahe, and its capital Victoria.

Mahe voted on Saturday, along with the two other main islands Praslin and La Digue. The three account for 98 percent of the Indian Ocean nation's 90,000 people.

"I hope that the process continues to be peaceful, that everyone goes to exercise their rights and goes home to await the final results," President Michel told the Seychelles News Agency during the vote.

The SNP had refused to take part in the 2011 elections claiming they would not be fair.

The Parti Lepep (meaning People's Party in the local Seychellois Creole language) has maintained a majority in parliament since the return of multiparty politics in 1993.

The SNP's leader Wavel Ramkalawan came a close second in presidential elections in December 2015, losing to the incumbent James Michel by just 193 votes.

It marked the first time a candidate from Lepep was forced into a second round.

Together, opposition candidates won 52 percent of votes cast in the first round of December's presidential vote, but were then beaten in the run-off after failing to coalesce around a single candidate.

The National Assembly is made up of 25 directly-elected members with the remaining 10 members allocated to each party according to its proportional representation in the polls.

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