Seychelles opposition leader Ramkalawan wins presidency in milestone victory

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The presidential election in the Seychelles has been disrupted when the election commission on Sunday declared longtime opposition rival Wavel Ramkalawan the winner of the current Danny Faure. The ruling party has been ousted for the first time since 1977.

Opposition leader Ramkalawan, a 59-year-old priest who has largely devoted himself to politics, received 54 percent of the vote in the Indian Ocean island nation, while Faure received 43 percent, Commissioner Danny Lucas said, calling the race “hotly contested.”

“Mr Faure and I are very good friends, and an election does not mean the end of one’s contribution to one’s motherland,” Ramkalawan, a six-time presidential candidate, said shortly after the announcement, promising an advisory approach and “no interference from the executive. “in the work of the various institutions of the country.

Faure accepted his loss, adding “I wish you all the best,” the Seychelles News Agency reported. The outgoing president promised to continue living in the country and said he would be available to give advice.

The new president is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

Ramkalawan’s party also won more than a third majority of seats in the National Assembly, the news agency reported.

The turnout was approx. 75% in the archipelago nation of almost 100,000 people whose tourism-heavy economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States and other nations quickly congratulated the citizens of Seychelles on the peaceful election, calling the vote “orderly and free.”

The United States congratulated Ramkalawan, saying “your historic election is proof that the Seychelles has become a truly democratic nation.” The country’s history includes a stretch of unilateral rule, a coup in 1977 and a coup attempt in 1981.

Faure, who has been blunt about the dangers of climate change and the need to protect island nations like his own, took over the presidency in 2016, after longtime president James Michel resigned after the ruling party in the United Seychelles lost the parliamentary election to a opposition coalition.

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(AP)