Mahe, Seychelles: On 12 September 2016, the Head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2016 National Assembly Elections in the Republic of the Seychelles, Honourable Dr Augustine P. Mahiga (MP) Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, released the Mission's Preliminary Statement, at a press event held at the Avani Hotel, Mahe, Seychelles, regarding the elections which took place from 8 to 10 September 2016.
In his presentation, the Head of the SEOM Mission acknowledged that the Republic of the Seychelles has through various amendments to the Elections Act, paid attention to addressing the legal provisions governing elections. He also outlined some of the key SEOM observations which ranged from addressing the preparedness of the Electoral Commission of Seychelles to hold the elections, voter registration and identification, role of the judiciary in dispute resolution, access to the media, civic and voter education, and gender parity in the election process.
The Honourable Minister also outlined SEOM's recommendations to electoral stakeholders. Among others, these included the need for effective implementation of the Elections Act, enhancement of the capacity of the Electoral Commission, the need for the revision of the voters' register to remove obsolete entries, the design and delivery of regular voter and civic education, and measures to enhance the participation of women in politics.
In his conclusion the Head of the SEOM noted that the country has generally remained peaceful during the pre-election and voting periods; and that, the voters freely exercised their civil and political rights, and the voting and counting processes were generally transparent.
He added that the historical outcome of these National Assembly Elections in the Republic of the Seychelles is a testimony to the efficacy of multiparty democracy and yet another milestone in the SADC region's progress. The Head of the SEOM further noted that this new dispensation will require concerted efforts from all political stakeholders to work collaboratively in advancing the democratic and developmental aspirations of the Seychellois.
The SEOM also hosted two International Election Observation Missions to release their independent Preliminary Statements at the same venue. These were the African Union Election Observation Mission headed by Her Excellency, Ambassador Fatuma Ndagiza, and the Electoral Commission Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) Observation Mission headed by Reverend Bongani Finca.
The press event was attended by among others, Commissioners from the Electoral Commission of Seychelles, Heads and representatives of Diplomatic Missions, representatives of political parties, faith-based groups, local and international observers, members of civil society, and the media.
The SEOM report of the 2016 Seychelles National Assembly Elections will be completed and issued within 30 days after the close of the poll. The report will be directed to the Government of the Republic of the Seychelles and to the country's Electoral Commission.
The opposition coalition party, Lalyans Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), won 15 of the 25 contested constituencies and the ruling Parti Lepep (PL) party, the remaining 10 constituencies.