In the genesis of their society, the Seychelles, which had no aborigines before, have remained true to their multi-ethnic roots. For over two centuries, the islands have been a melting pot of different races, traditions and religions from all parts of the world.
Even today, a very peaceful coexistence of multicultural people is the essential characteristic of this lively and harmonious nation.
Seychelles' politics has historical roots in both one-party socialism and autocratic rule. After independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, Seychelles was a sovereign republic until 1977, when the original President and leader of the Seychelles Democratic Party, James Mancham, was overthrown in a bloodless coup by the Prime Minister France-Albert René. René established a single-party socialist state under the Seychelles People's Progressive Front, which lasted until 1993, when multi-party elections were held for the first time since independence. Modern governance in the Seychelles takes place within a presidential republic, where the President of Seychelles is both Head of State and Head of Government, and in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Government. Legislative power is vested in both the Government and the National Assembly.
The Republic of Seychelles has had a multi-party democratic system since 4 December 1991 with a President who holds the functions of Head of State, Foreign Minister and Head of Government. The President chairs a cabinet of 10 ministers including the Vice President.
In April 2004, James Alix Michel replaced the then President Albert René and was re-elected President by the people in 2005, 2010 and 2015, after having been in office since 1977. The current Vice-President (since 2016) is Vincent Meriton, who also serves as Minister of Sport and Culture. He succeeds Danny Faure, who was elected president on 16 October 2016 without an election, as James Michel had previously announced his resignation.
The National Assembly (legislative) in its current constellation was formed after the elections of 8, 9 and 10 September 2016 with a total of 33 members. 25 members are elected in individual constituencies according to the simple majority (or first-past-the-post) system. The remaining up to nine members were elected according to the proportional representation system. The term of office of the members is five years.
The former Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front led by former President France Albert René (SPPF) was renamed Parti Lepep in 2010 and United Seychelles in 2018 and has 14 seats in parliament in 2020.
The main opposition party, with 19 seats in parliament, is Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS, formerly known as SNP and as United Opposition) has the remaining 11 seats. The LDS is led by the Reverend Wavel Ramkalawan.
Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) is a coalition in the National Assembly of the Seychelles, which has been in power since 2016. The coalition originally consisted of the four main opposition parties: the Seychelles National Party, the Seychellois Alliance, the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy and the Seychelles United Party. The Seychellois Alliance left the coalition in February 2018 after the resignation of its leader Patrick Pillay as Speaker and Member of the National Assembly in January 2018.
Status in 2020
Currently, as of 2020, 14 women are represented in the National Assembly, out of a total of 33 seats.
The Seychelles are divided into 25 counties. Of these, 22 are located mainly or exclusively on the main island Mahétwo on Praslin, while La Digue forms a further district with secondary islands and also some more distant islands.
Seychelles is a member of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), Commonwealth, Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation, Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and La Francophonie. They maintain embassies in Paris, New York, Brussels, New Delhi, Nairobi and Beijing - as well as several honorary consulates worldwide.
Even today, the population, consisting of around 100,000 people, reflects their multi-ethnic roots. The islands have always had a strong attraction for peoples from all corners of the earth. Thus, liberated slaves from the French colonies came to the Seychelles from Africa and slaves from the English colonies from India, European settlers from France, England and Italy, political exiles, adventurers, Arab and Persian traders as well as Chinese.
Virtually every nation on this earth is represented in the cultural melting pot of the Seychelles and has left its unique influence and thus shaped today's dynamic yet very peaceful society.
There are 3 official languages: Creole (a melodic patois based on French), English and French. Many Seychellois also speak fluent Italian or German.
Most people are still Roman Catholic (over 90%) but there are also many Anglicans and Protestants. They live peacefully alongside Muslims, Hindus, followers of Bahá'i and other religious communities such as Buddhists on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
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