Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles, June 8, 2020 – The only logical focal point in the upcoming presidential election, and after COVID-19, in the Seychelles is tourism and the best qualified candidate to guide this country during such impossible times is presidential candidate Alain St. Ange.
St. Ange is a known global and regional players in the tourism industry for many years. He is also the leader of the newly established “One Seychelles” political party and is officially running for president. Here is why this is so important not only for Seychelles.
The average turn out at elections in the Republic of Seychelles is a booming 86.41% with a population of only 95,702 citizens. The Island Republic consists of 115 islands, and its capital city is Victoria. The smallest capital in the world with its own Big Ben Clock Tower lies 932 miles east of mainland Africa. Seychelles lies in the Indian Ocean and is part of the Vanilla Island group together with the French overseas territory islands of Mayotte and Réunion, and Madagascar and Mauritius in the South. Seychelles has the smallest population of any sovereign African Country, but there is big politics. Seychelles is strategically well-positioned on many fronts.
It elects a president a the head of state and it elects a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Assembly/Assemblée Nationale has 34 members elected for terms of five years, 25 members elected in single-seat constituencies, and 9 members elected by proportional representation.
The dates for the next presidential elections were just set for 22-24 October. Seychelles is known as a travel and tourism paradise, and the visitor’s industry is the number one money maker for the country.
Danny Faure, the sitting President, has been dealt a hard hand with the worldwide spread of COVID-19, prompting the collapse of the country’s tourism industry and giving rise to an alarming rate of poverty. His administration has come under fire for unpopular decisions as of late that have served to cripple the business community. He pleads for another term from the electorate, vowing to lead the Nation to prosperity if he is elected.
Tourism has now become the focal point in Seychelles, and everyone is slowly understanding that this industry is everyone’s business, even if you are not directly employed in this sector.
Here is where the advantage comes in for this island country. There is one man who brought this island destination on the global map, and at the same time became an important global tourism player and celebrity. This man is Alain St. Ange, who went from CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, became the minister of tourism and ran for UNWTO Secretary-General. When St. Ange was the minister of tourism he often said Seychelles is a friend of all and enemies of none, explaining why no nationality needed a visa to visit the country.
St. Ange is already directly involved in facing the current crisis not only in Seychelles when he became the co-chair of Project Hope, an initiative put in place with Dr. Taleb Rifai as the chair. Rifai was the secretary-general of the UNWTO for two terms.
While St. Ange was minister of tourism, and under the UNWTO Secretary-General Dr. Taleb Rifai in 2013 Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt, the immediate former CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, had been appointed as Regional Director for Africa for the World Tourism Organization, currently based at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid.
As the Seychelles Government releases provisional dates for the Presidential Elections between 22-24 October 2020, the One Seychelles political party, headed by tourism veteran Alain St.Ange and Peter Sinon, has indicated their readiness for the upcoming elections, and for the Parliamentary election that is rumored to be announced before the Presidential.
Only mandated to give three weeks’ notice to call for a Parliamentary election, many speculate that it would be strategic for President Danny Faure to pursue this avenue as it would serve to disadvantage the opposition parties vying to replace his Government.
Peter Andrew Guy Sinon is a former Seychellois Cabinet Minister who served as Minister for Investment, Natural Resources and Industry from 2010 to 2015
While LDS, headed presently by Rev. Wavel Ramkalawan (a derivative of smaller subsets of political parties over time, including SNP and UO), has not been successful in their bid for power in the past six presidential elections, the Party loyalists staunchly maintain that the former elections were somehow ‘rigged’, despite the same not being found in a court of law.
One Seychelles, on their part, maintain that voters who are complacent to cast their vote for the same individual or party that they have been for the past few years cannot expect anything different from Government this time around should they do the same. They maintain that if the electorate is finally ready for a real change, they are to cast their vote for One Seychelles in the 2020 elections.
When St. Ange announced his candidacy well-wishers from all corners of the tourism world went on record, what is amazing by any standard, and specifically for a small country. A President St. Ange would help world tourism tremendously, and it has all potentials to lift Seychelles to an important positive global example for this sector.
It is hoped that the elections proceed in a transparent manner, with all political parties engaging in fair-play, with respect and always abiding by the rule of law.