60. Seychelles (1976-present)

Pre-Crisis Phase (June 29, 1976-June 3, 1977):  Seychelles formally achieved its independence from the United Kingdom 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-June 16, 1993):  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 on 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.  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.  The heads of state of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) condemned the “mercenary attack aimed at the overthrow of the Government of Seychelles” on March 12, 1983.  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.  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.  On September 13, 1986, the government uncovered a plot by members of the military to overthrow President France-Albert René.  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.  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 short-term 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 short-term observers to monitor the elections.  A new constitution, which provided for a multiparty political system, was approved in a referendum on June 18, 1993.  The CON sent short-term observers to monitor the referendum.

Post-Crisis Phase (June 17, 1993-present):  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 CON sent short-term 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 CON and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent 16 short-term 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 CON, OIF, and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) sent short-term 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 James Michel was elected with 54 percent of the vote on July 28-30, 2006.  The U.S. government sent five short-term observers to monitor the presidential election.  The CON sent three short-term observers and two staff to monitor the presidential elections from July 16 to August 6, 2006.  Government security forces clashed with opposition protesters near the parliament building in Victoria on October 4, 2006.  Legislative elections were held on May 10-12, 2007, and the SPPF won 23 out of 34 seats in the National Assembly.  The SNP-SDP coalition 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 CON sent five short-term 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.  The SADC sent 57 short-term observers led by Mkhondo Lungu, Minister of Home Affairs of Zambia, to monitor the presidential elections on May 9-22, 2011.  Legislative elections were held from September 29 to October 1, 2011, and the People’s Party (former SPPF) won 31 out of 31 seats in the National Assembly.  The SNP and other opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections.  President James Michel was re-elected with 50 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on December 16-18, 2015.  On March 22, 2016, the National Assembly approved legislation that authorized the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS).  Legislative elections were held on September 8-10, 2016, and the Seychellois Democratic Alliance (Linyon Demokratik Seselwa – LDS) won 19 out of 33 seats in the National Assembly.  The People’s Party won 14 seats in the National Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent 29 short-term election observers from 21 countries led by Fatuma Ndangiza to monitor the legislative elections on September 5-15, 2016.  The SADC sent 19 short-term observers from eight countries to monitor the legislative elections.  As a result of the loss of the majority in the National Assembly, President James Michel announced his resignation.  Vice President Danny Faure was sworn in as president on October 16, 2016.  Former President France-Albert René died in Mahé on February 27, 2019.  Wavel Ramkalawan of the LDS was elected president with 55 percent of the vote on October 22-24, 2020.  Legislative elections were held on October 22-24, 2020, and the LDS won 25 out of 35 seats in the National Assembly.  The United Seychelles (former People’s Party) won 10 seats in the National Assembly.  Ten short-term election observers, representing the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), monitored the legislative and presidential elections.  On December 17, 2021, the Seychelles Supreme Court charged six individuals, including Sara Zarqhani Rene (the widow of former President France-Albert René), with stealing $50 million that was donated to the country by the United Arab Emirates in 2002.

[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; Africa Union (AU), September 12, 2016; Agence France Presse (AFP), December 17, 2015, December 20, 2015; Al Jazeera, October 25, 2020; Associated Press (AP), September 2, 2001, September 3, 2001, September 8, 2001, October 25, 2020; 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, September 11, 2016, September 27, 2016, October 25, 2020, October 28, 2020; Commonwealth of Nations (CON), 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), July 27, 1992; New York Times, June 29, 1976, June 6, 1977, June 7, 1977, June 8, 1977, June 9, 1977, June 12, 1977, March 27, 1979, November 27, 1981, November 29, 1981, November 30, 1981, December 2, 1981, December 3, 1981, December 31, 1981, January 6, 1982, April 13, 1982, July 7, 1982, July 28, 1982, July 30, 1982, August 18, 1982, August 19, 1982, August 22, 1982, October 8, 1982, November 28, 1982, December 3, 1982, July 23, 1983, July 24, 1983, September 14, 1986, December 8, 1987, September 4, 2001, April 15, 2004; Reuters, December 4, 2002, December 7, 2002, May 21, 2011, September 29, 2011, October 2, 2011, December 19, 2015; Seychelles News Agency, March 3, 2016, April 13, 2016, September 11, 2016, October 9, 2020, October 22, 2020, October 26, 2020, December 17, 2021; UN Chronicle, July 1982; Voice of America (VOA), October 22, 2020; Xinhua News Agency, July 12, 2011.]