Anglican priest and leading opposition candidate, Wavel Ramkalawan of the LDS party has won the elections in Seychelles.
According to reports by Seychelles media, Ramkalawan won both presidential as well as parliamentary elections, which is a huge victory for the LDS party to take charge of the country after three decades.
Meanwhile, Alain St. Ange of One Seychelles has offered congratulations to Mr. Ramkalawan.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, the candidate of the One Seychelles party, Alain St. Ange has issued a statement on Sunday morning on the election result, as he congratulated the winner.
Below is the full text of St. Ange’s statement:
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.