Seychelles president announces resignation after poll loss

Michel (left) congratulates Seychellois Democratic Alliance leader Roger Mancienne in Victoria on Sept 11, 2016.
Michel (left) congratulates Seychellois Democratic Alliance leader Roger Mancienne in Victoria on Sept 11, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

VICTORIA, Seychelles (AFP) - Seychelles President James Michel announced his resignation on Tuesday (Sept 27), saying he will stand down on Oct 16 after his party lost legislative elections.

The surprise announcement came after an opposition coalition in the former British colony broke the ruling party's four-decade grip on power earlier this month.

The 72-year-old, who was elected for a third five-year term last December but by a wafer-thin margin, is expected to be replaced by his vice-president Danny Faure.

"After 12 years as president, the time has come to hand over the reins of power to a new leader. A new leader who will take Seychelles to the next frontier of its development," Michel said in a nationally televised address.

In polls earlier this month the opposition coalition of the Seychellois Democratic Alliance won 15 parliament seats against 10 for the ruling Parti Lepep, known as the People's Party locally.

Parti Lepep has been in power since a coup in 1977, a year after independence, and it had won a majority in every election since the return of multi-party politics in 1993.

Michel, who has served as president as well as head of government, also paid the price after last December's presidential elections, in which he was re-elected but with 50.15 per cent, only 193 votes more than opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan.