60. Seychelles (1976-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (June 29, 1976-June 3, 1977):  Seychelles formally achieved its independence from Britain and joined the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) on June 29, 1976.  President James Mancham and Prime Minister France-Albert René formed a coalition government, which consisted of officials from the Democratic Party (DP) and the Seychelles People’s United Party (SPUP), on June 29, 1976.

Crisis Phase (June 4, 1977-December 3, 1991):  President James Mancham was overthrown in a rebellion on June 4-5, 1977, and Prime Minister France-Albert René was sworn in as president on June 5, 1977. Six individuals were killed during the rebellion. President France-Albert René dissolved the National Assembly and suspended the constitution on June 6, 1977.  The British and U.S. governments provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of Seychelles on June 13, 1977. The Tanzanian government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of Seychelles on June 13, 1977, and provided military assistance (12 military trainers) to the government beginning on June 22, 1977. Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolam of Mauritius provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on June 25, 1977. The Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF) was declared the country’s only legal political party in 1978.  The government of the Soviet Union provided military assistance (weapons to the government of Seychelles from 1978 to 1986.  Government police suppressed a rebellion on April 29, 1978.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum on March 26, 1979, and the constitution went into effect on June 5, 1979.  Legislative elections were held on June 23-26, 1979, and the SPPF won 23 out of 23 elected seats in the National Assembly.  France-Albert René of the SPPF was elected president without opposition on June 26, 1979.  Students demonstrations against the government of President France-Albert René on October 11-12, 1979.  The government suppressed a rebellion on November 16, 1979.  Some 140 Tanzanian troops were deployed in support of the government in November 1979. Government troops suppressed a rebellion by some 50 South African mercenaries led by Colonel Michael Hoare on the island of Mahe November 25-26, 1981.  Forty-four of the mercenaries hijacked an Air India airplane and flew to Durban, South Africa.  The South African government arrested the 44 mercenaries after their arrival in Durban.  One government soldier was killed during the rebellion.  President France-Albert René accused South Africa of involvement in the rebellion, and referred the matter to the United Nations (UN) on November 26, 1981.  The Ethiopian government condemned the rebellion on November 27, 1981.  President Daniel Moi, chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), condemned the rebellion on November 27, 1981.  The Tanzanian government deployed some 400 troops in support of the government.  On November 28, 1981, the U.S. government condemned the attempted coup in Seychelles.  The UN Security Council established a three-member commission of inquiry (Ireland, Japan, Panama) headed by Carlos Ozores Typaldos of Panama on December 15, 1981.  The UN commission of inquiry issued a report on May 20, 1982.  On May 28, 1982, the UN Security Council condemned the mercenary rebellion against the government of Seychelles.  Four South African mercenaries were convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the November 1981 rebellion on July 7, 1982.  On July 29, 1982, the South African government sentenced Colonel Mike Hoare and 40 other mercenaries to prison terms for their involvement in the November 1981 rebellion.  Rebel soldiers seized the government radio station and the Union Vale military base on August 17-18, 1982.  Tanzanian soldiers suppressed the rebellion, resulting in the deaths of five rebels soldiers, two civilians, and one government soldier.  President France-Albert René pardoned six foreign mercenaries, including four mercenaries who had been sentenced to death for their involvement in the November 1981 rebellion, on July 22, 1983.  Government troops and Tanzanian troops suppressed a military rebellion on the island of Mahe on August 17-18, 1982, resulting in the deaths of nine individuals.  Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) heads-of-state condemned the “mercenary attack aimed at the overthrow of the Government of Seychelles” on March 12, 1983.  Legislative elections were held on August 7, 1983, and the SPPF won 23 out of 23 elected seats in the National Assembly.  The Tanzanian government withdrew its troops from the country in August 1983.  President France-Albert René was re-elected without opposition on June 17, 1984.  President France-Albert René pardoned four South African mercenaries who had been sentenced to death for their involvement in the November 1981 rebellion, and the mercenaries were deported to South Africa on July 23, 1984.  Legislative elections were held on December 6, 1987, and the SPPF won 23 out of 23 elected seats in the People’s Assembly.  President France-Albert René was re-elected without opposition on June 9-11, 1989.  The SPPF agreed to legalize opposition political parties on December 3, 1991. Sixteen individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (December 4, 1991-present):  Elections for the Constitutional Commission were held on July 26, 1992, and the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF) won 14 out of 22 seats on the Constitution Commission. The Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP) headed by James Mancham, which was legalized in March 1992, won eight seats on the Constitutional Commission.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent twelve observers to monitor the elections (the observation mission reported that the elections were free and fair). The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) sent a two-member pre-election assessment mission to the country on June 21-July 5, 1992.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent two observers to monitor the elections.  A new constitution, which provided for a multiparty political system, was approved in a referendum on June 18, 1993 (after a previous draft was rejected in a referendum on November 15, 1992).  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent observers to monitor the referendum in June 1993.  Legislative elections were held on July 20-23, 1993, and the SPPF won 27 out of 33 seats in the National Assembly.  The SDP won five seats in the National Assembly.  President France-Albert René was re-elected with 60 percent of the vote on July 26, 1993. The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  Legislative elections were held on March 20-22, 1998, and the SPPF won 30 out of 34 seats in the National Assembly. The United Opposition (UO) won three seats in the National Assembly, and the DP won one seat in the National Assembly. President France-Albert René was re-elected with 67 percent of the vote on March 22, 1998. The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent 16 observers from nine countries headed by Sir John Compton of St. Lucia to jointly monitor the elections from March 11 to March 23, 1998.  President France-Albert René was re-elected with 54 percent of the vote on September 2, 2001, and he was sworn in for a five-year term on September 4, 2001. Opposition candidate, Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), claimed election fraud.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the presidential election.  Legislative elections were held on December 4-6, 2002, and the SPPF won 23 out of 34 seats in the National Assembly.  The SNP won 11 seats in the National Assembly. One individual was killed in election-related violence.  President France-Albert René resigned on April 14, 2004, and Vice President James Michel was sworn in as president on April 14, 2004.  President Michel was re-elected with 54 percent of the vote on July 28-30, 2006.  The U.S. government sent five observers to monitor the presidential election.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent three observers and two staff to monitor the presidential elections from July 16 to August 6, 2006.  Legislative elections were held on May 10-12, 2007, and the SPPF won 23 out of 34 seats in the National Assembly.  The Seychelles National Party-Seychelles Democratic Party (SNP-SDP) won eleven seats in the National Assembly.  The National Assembly voted to dissolve itself on July 12, 2011.  The SNP condemned the dissolution of the National Assembly as unconstitutional, and submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court.  The dissolution of the National Assembly was temporarily invalidated by the Constitutional Court on July 18, 2011, and the National Assembly reconvened on July 19, 2011.  President James Michel of the SPPF was re-elected with 55 percent of the vote on May 19-21, 2011.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent five observers and three staff members led by Dr. Julian Hunte of St. Lucia to monitor the presidential election from May 12 to May 26, 2011.  Legislative elections were held from September 29 to October 1, 2011, and the SPPF (now known as the People’s Party-PP) won 31 out of 31 seats in the National Assembly.  The SNP boycotted the legislative elections.

[Sources: Africa Contemporary Record (ACR), 1983-1984; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), June 1-30, 1977, May 1-31, 1978, July 1-31, 1979, November 1-30, 1979, November 1-30, 1981, January 1-31, 1982, February 1-28, 1982, August 1-31, 1983, June 1-30, 1984; Associated Press (AP), September 2, 2001, September 3, 2001, September 8, 2001; Banks and Muller, 1998, 806-810; Beigbeder, 1994, 245-246; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), March 11, 1998, March 20, 1998, September 2, 2001, September 3, 2001, February 24, 2004, April 14, 2004, July 28, 2006, July 31, 2006, October 4, 2006, October 11, 2006; Commonwealth of Nations (CON) press release, July 19, 2006, August 18, 2006; Degenhardt, 1988, 319-320; Facts on File, June 11, 1977, June 25, 1977; Hatchard, 1993, 601-612; Jessup, 1998, 617-618, 658-659; Keesing’s Record of World Events, August 5, 1977, May 18, 1979, August 24, 1979, May 28, 1982, October 15, 1982, January 1984, June 1989, December 1991, July 1992, June 1993, July 1993, March 1998; National Democratic Institute (NDI) statement, July 27, 1992; New York Times (NYT), November 27, 1981, November 29, 1981, November 30, 1981, December 31, 1981, April 13, 1982, July 7, 1982, July 28, 1982, July 30, 1982, August 18, 1982, August 19, 1982, August 22, 1982, November 28, 1982, December 3, 1982, July 23, 1983, July 24, 1983, September 4, 2001, April 15, 2004; Reuters, December 4, 2002, December 7, 2002, May 21, 2011, September 29, 2011, October 2, 2011; UN Chronicle, July 1982; Xinhua News Agency, July 12, 2011.]