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Seychelles votes in final day of National Assembly elections

Seychelles votes in final day of National Assembly elections ( Voters in Seychelles cast ballots Saturday in the third and final - and by far the most important - day of voting in the island nation's highly-contested National Assembly election.

Residents queued at polling sites across the nation's three most populated islands. Votes can be cast between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

At Anse Boileau – a district in western Mahe - some people who spoke to the Seychelles Newspaper Agency (SNA) had arrived at the polling station as early as 6:00 a.m.

“I came this early, because in the morning it is much cooler, and I have a lot of things to attend to at home,” said Daniel Servina, a 55-year-old voter.

A first-time voter, Emelie Pool, said, “Although the queue was really long, the voting process was moving really fast. It is faster than last December’s presidential elections.”

Compared to previous elections the Electoral Commission has introduced a new system whereby voting lines have been divided by alphabetical sections of the voters’ register.

Varinie Etienne, who was accompanying her grandmother who cannot vote on her own, is of the view that the previous system was better.

“If you are assisting someone and that person's surname begins with 'M' and yours starts with 'E,' [the assistant is] requested to queue up again outside whereas before you could both vote at the same time,” said Etienne.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Joseph Athanasius, who confirmed the readiness of the Electoral Commission on Friday, has advised the public to turn up and exercise their civil duty as early as possible.

At the Plaisance polling station, on the outskirts of Victoria, shortly after 9 am, there was no queue.

Three voters said they were impressed with how fast the process was moving along.

“I spent seconds inside [the voting station], which is completely different from December’s presidential elections, where I had to queue for hours,” said Antoine Alcindor.

Lauren William and Ericson Joseph, both 74, said as soon as they arrived at the station they were ushered in and were able to cast their votes.

“What a welcome improvement from last year, especially for us the elderly who did not have to wait for hours to cast our votes,” both men said.

The electoral in charge of the Plaisance polling station, Thomas Dauban, said the only hiccup encountered was one person who could not vote as his name did not appear on the voters’ register.

“It has been a smooth process since we opened our doors at 7 am, and I am satisfied with the way things are going,” said Dauban.

Two hours after voting started at Plaisance, around 600 people had cast their votes.

At the Mont-Fleuri polling station at 9:30 am, voting was going at a fast pace, and some 450 people had already voted.

“I was in the queue for roughly one minute, and there was no hiccup while I was voting. It is more organized than December as the register has been divided into three,” Gretel Isaac said.

A total of 71,932 people can take part in the legislative polls, although over 5,000 were expected to cast their votes on the first two days of voting.

On Friday, Athanasius predicted, “If we have an 80 to 90 percent turnout … we will be expecting to see around 58,000 to 60,000 people.”

PHOTO: Voters waiting to cast ballots ahead of the 7:00 a.m. opening of the voting station at Anse Etoile, the largest electoral district in Seychelles. / Madiha Philo, SNA


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