Seychelles Democracy and Rights
Democracy and rights
Abbreviated as SYC by Abbreviationfinder, Seychelles politics has since been dominated by a party that retained power in the country even after a multi-party system was introduced in the early 1990s. But the ruling party, which since 2018 is called the United Seychelles, has in recent years faced increased competition from opposition parties. Corruption is a problem.
General elections with several parties have been held regularly since 1993. Seychelles living abroad are not entitled to vote. Both politics and the economy are largely dominated by residents with roots in Europe or South Asia.
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In the 2016 parliamentary elections, for the first time, an opposition alliance succeeded in winning a political election in Seychelles. The election loss led to the resignation of the then president (see Current Policy). After the change of presidential post, it seems easier for the government and the opposition to cooperate. The most recent elections, 2015 and 2016, are generally considered to have been carried out correctly, but accusations of voting have been made. Ahead of the 2015 election, several opposition parties accused the government of harassment. Some criticism has also been directed at how the Election Commission works (see Modern History). However, the election the following year could be carried out without any major problems.
In 2019, a Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission was appointed to investigate the abuses committed by the then regime between 1977 and 1993 for three years (see also Current Policy). Among other things, the Commission should be able to decide whether someone should be granted amnesty for these crimes and whether the victims should be granted damages. The aim is to create reconciliation in the country and ensure that such abuses are not repeated. The Commission shall consist of seven members, two of whom shall be foreign nationals not resident in the country.
One of the most notable cases concerns the exile politician Gérard Hoarau, who was murdered in his home in London in 1985. However, it is not clear who was behind the act, but the opposition directed the suspicions against the then regime. The regime was also accused of torture and other abuses against oppositionists. Ex-president Albert René himself admitted that the opposition was eavesdropping.
Freedom of assembly prevails, but with some restrictions, even if the political scene has opened up in recent years. This means that anyone who wants to organize political meetings must request police permission for them five days in advance. The police also have the authority to stop meetings and influence where and when they may be held.
There are a number of voluntary organizations that can operate freely. Above all, it is a lack of money that puts limits on their work.
Women have the same political, economic and social rights as men. They are well represented in business, but in politics the proportion of women has decreased since the early 1990s when almost half of the members of the National Assembly were women. The proportion has fallen to just over 21 percent after the 2016 election. In 2019, five of the twelve government members were women.
The politically active women are mainly found in the United Seychelles Government Party.
In 2016, the country’s first independent commission was formed to combat corruption. At the same time, new legislation was adopted for the same purpose. However, this has not led to many legal trials on corruption cases. Some people within the government are required to declare the size of their assets, but the rules are not always followed. Despite the shortcomings, the country ranks fairly high on the organization Transparency International’s index of perceived corruption in the countries of the world. In 2018, Seychelles ranked 28th out of 180 countries.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of expression and expression is guaranteed in the Seychelles Constitution. For a long time most media were controlled by the government, but in recent years a number of independent newspapers have been started. There is only a single daily newspaper, and it is run by the state which has largely retained its influence over the etheric media. Many media find it difficult to get the economy together.
In the past, power holders were able to restrict media freedom through strict advocacy laws, but in recent years no advocacy cases have been raised. Journalists can now operate fairly freely. However, it is sensitive to report on substances that could harm the country’s important tourism industry.
Most of the private newspapers are associated with a political party, which affects their reporting.
In 2018, a new law was passed that would allow citizens to access public documents, but in practice the system does not work very well.
In 2019, Seychelles was ranked 69th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders index of freedom of the press in the world. The country had climbed 34 placements since 2014.
Private radio and TV stations are allowed, but the high fees for broadcasting permits have hitherto hindered private alternatives. However, there is at least one private radio station. Political parties and religious organizations are not allowed to operate their own radio channels.
Judicial system and legal security
The legal system has been developed with examples from France and the United Kingdom. The judiciary is formally independent, but it appears that outsiders interfere in legal cases, especially if they are politically sensitive or can challenge commercial interests. The government appoints judges and prosecutors. Lack of educated manpower means that many judges, especially in higher courts, are picked from outside. Judges in the Supreme Court regularly stand for threats and harassment.
There are no political prisoners in the country and respect for human rights is generally considered good. However, legal procedures are often slow and ineffective. The measures that have been taken in recent years to remedy this have not easily led to any major improvement.
There are reports of abuse and inhuman treatment of interns in the overcrowded prisons. Criticism has also been directed at long detention times. Another issue that has been addressed concerns the conditions of migrants working in the country’s export zones.
Both the military and the police have been accused of assaulting suspects of crime, and few perpetrators are punished for these crimes. Bribery and other corruption are common in the police force.
The death penalty was abolished in 1993.