Seychelles President James Michel To Resign

After 12 years in office, Seychelles president James Michel announced he will step down from his position.

The announcement on Tuesday came as a result of a constitutional amendment to limit the number of presidential terms to two.

The country’s national assembly passed the unanimous amendment to cap presidential and vice-presidential tenure at two terms in April.

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The 72-year-old was re-elected in December for a third term in office. Although the new law does not void his third term, Michel said he had made the decision to step down after the constitutional changes.

He will resign on 16 October and will be replaced by Vice-President Danny Faure according to the statement released by State House.

Michel said:

“After 12 years as president, the time has come to hand over the reins of power to a new leader who will take Seychelles to the next frontier of its development, to face and overcome the challenges of this century, without abandoning our principles.”

“For me, power is not an aim in itself but a means to do good. To do good for our people. The interest of the nation comes first… I am leaving the office of the president with a sense of mission accomplished.”

The statement however failed to mention if any elections would follow.

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President Michel is a former teacher, who came to power in April 2004 after serving as VP to his predecessor France-Albert René between 1996 and 2004.

Earlier this month, opposition parties took majority seats during the parliamentary elections.

The opposition coalition of the Seychellois Democratic Alliance won 15 parliament seats against 10 for President Michel’s party, Parti Lepep which is known as the People’s Party.

Parti Lepep has been in power since a coup in 1977. It had won a majority in every election since the return of multi-party politics in 1993.

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The governing party claimed it would offer economic stability for the islands, which depend on tourism and fishing.

The opposition is rather seeking to make the Indian Ocean nation of 115 islands and 93,000 offer a low-tax environment for companies registered on its territory to promote itself as a financial services hub.