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Seychelles presidential race

By on December 6, 2015

The Seychelles will go into a presidential election runoff on Dec. 16 after all the six candidates in the first round failed to secure a 50 percent share of the vote, the chairman of the electoral commission said on Sunday.

The incumbent President James Michel, 71, won 47.76 percent of the 62,004 votes that were cast, while his closest challenger, Wavel Ramkalawan, a 54-year old Anglican priest, scored 33.93 percent.

Ramkalawan, who ran on a Seychelles National Party ticket, thanked his voters for helping force a second round for the first time ever.

Opposition supporters poured into the streets of the capital waving green flags, joining those of Michel who drove vehicles draped with red flags. Both sides viewed the results as favouring them.

Patrick Pillay, a former minister in Michel’s cabinet, secured 14.19 percent of the vote. Voter turnout at 87.40 percent was one of the highest seen in the Seychelles.

The vote echoed debate in many African nations on the mainland about leadership term limits.

Michel, who has served for two terms, was part of a group that seized power in a bloodless coup in 1977. His party has won elections since 1993 when multi-party politics resumed and it has been in power for 38 years.

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