Seychelles voting in presidential, parliamentary polls

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A voter (R) casts his ballot at a polling station for presidential and parliamentary elections in Victoria, Seychelles, Oct. 22, 2020. Around 70,000 voters were expected to cast their ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections on Oct. 22-24 in Seychelles, a archipelago country in the Indian Ocean. (La Nation/Handout via Xinhua)
A voter (R) casts his ballot at a polling station for presidential and parliamentary elections in Victoria, Seychelles, Oct. 22, 2020. Around 70,000 voters were expected to cast their ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections on Oct. 22-24 in Seychelles, a archipelago country in the Indian Ocean. (La Nation/Handout via Xinhua)

Voting started in Seychelles on Thursday in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, decided to host the two polls concurrently to save funds as the country has suffered economically from the effects of COVID-19 lockdown on its tourism industry, the mainstay of Seychelles’ economy.

The island nation is famed for maintaining free and fair elections.

Special stations have been set up across the country to first cater to essential workers who are vital in caring for the rest of the population during the COVID-19 pandemic, complying with the World Health Organization guidelines to ensure they mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Top candidates for the presidential elections include the incumbent Danny Faure, who is running for presidency under the United Seychelles party founded in 1964.

The other two candidates competing for the top seat are Alain St Anger from the One Seychelles party and Wavel Ramkalawan from the Seychelles Democratic Union. In the 2015/2016 elections, only 193 votes separated the two leading presidential candidates.

According to election analysts from the island nation, the 2020 presidential elections will be somewhat evenly matched as United Seychelles and the Seychelles Democratic Union both share an almost equal number of following across 115 islands that make up the archipelago.

Countries across Africa have wished Seychelles peaceful, free, and fair elections. In a statement Stergomena Tax, executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said:

“As the people of Seychelles vote in the presidential and national assembly elections from 22-24 October, SADC wishes them peaceful elections and encourage all to remain calm as they exercise their democratic right.”

Seychelles closed its borders to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in March and began a phased re-opening to save the country from economic turmoil in June.

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