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Seychelles President calls for ethical political campaigning as presidential elections approach

Seychelles President calls for ethical political campaigning as presidential elections approach (Forimmediaterelease.net) The Republic of the Seychelles will be having its Presidential Elections from May 19-21. These elections will see a four-party race for the top position. The current President Mr. James Michel and Vice President Danny Faure are candidates for the ruling party, Parti Lepep; Leader of the Opposition Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan and the National Assembly Member Nicholas Prea are candidates for the main opposition party, the Seychelles National Party; the Leader of the New Democratic Party and Editor of the Weekly Newspaper Mr. Ralph Volcere and veteran politician Mr. Georges Bibi are candidates for the New Democratic Party; prominent lawyer and previous Presidential Candidate Mr. Philippe Boulle will be fighting the race as an Independent candidate.

The Seychelles President Mr. James Michel has called on the Electoral Commissioner to create a committee on political ethics on which all parties or groups contesting the presidential election will be invited to designate a representative.

In a letter to the Electoral Commissioner Hendricks Gappy, the President said that such a committee would work to ensure more ethical and responsible political campaigning by focusing on discussions on the manner in which political campaigns can be undertaken in the spirit of democratic competition and discourse, while remaining true to the spirit of unity, which is important to our country’s progress.

“Such a committee would offer a platform where those participating in the elections may share their views on how to ensure that campaigning in these elections lives up to the expectations of the Seychellois people. The committee should also issue a charter on ethical campaigning to be endorsed by all those who are participating in the election,” said President Michel.

The President noted that this election must mark a transformation in the way that politics is conducted in Seychelles and that this must be based on commitment to an ethical and honest approach to political campaigning.

“In my National Day speech of 2009, I called for a new style of politics in Seychelles based on every citizen putting the interests of the country ahead of any short term political gain. … Dialogue and discussion are an important part of any political process, and it is regrettable that sometimes the nature of competitive politics in our country does not facilitate consultation and discussion among the parties.”

The President has suggested that an ethical campaigning charter may include a commitment to campaign on issues that concern the betterment of the country and to avoid the politics of personal attacks and smears, to avoid violence and calls for violence, to avoid using any form of hate speech or language that causes offense to the norms of our society, to show mutual respect to all those participating in the election and to all citizens of our country, and to campaign responsibly.

“I believe that if we are able to bring all those contesting the election together to discuss and agree on such issues, this election will serve as an example of how in unity we can advance the democratic process in Seychelles.”

The President also referred to the Catholic Church’s publication on “The Church and Politics," by Mgr. Denis Wiehe, which calls for the “rehabilitation of politics" in Seychelles.

“I could not agree more that such an effort is required for the benefit of all Seychellois. Politics is indeed a noble profession, because it calls for service to the people, and to the country."

PHOTO: Seychelles President James Michel / Image via africareview.com

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain St. Ange, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, Email: alain.s@seychelles.com

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