From the date of its founding by the French until 1903, the
By 1963, political parties had developed in the
In March 1970, colonial and political representatives of
Further elections were held in April 1974, in which both major political parties campaigned for independence. During the April 1974 elections, the SDP increased its majority in the Legislative Assembly by 3 seats, gaining all but 2 of the 15 seats. Demarcation of constituencies was such that the SDP achieved this majority by winning only 52% of the popular vote.
Following the 1974 election, negotiations with the British resulted in an agreement by which
The negotiations following the 1974 elections also restored the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Des Roches to
Although the SDP/SPUP coalition appeared to operate smoothly, political divisions between the two parties continued. On June 5, 1977, during Mancham's absence at the London Commonwealth Conference, supporters of Prime Minister Rene overthrew Mancham in a smoothly executed coup and installed Rene as President. President Rene suspended the constitution and dismissed the parliament. The country was ruled by decree until June 1979, when a new constitution was adopted.
In November 1981, a group of mercenaries attempted to overthrow the Rene government but failed when they were detected at the airport and repelled. The government was threatened again by an army mutiny in August 1982, but it was quelled after 2 days when loyal troops, reinforced by Tanzanian forces, recaptured rebel-held installations.
At an Extraordinary Congress of the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) on December 4, 1991, President Rene announced a return to the multiparty system of government after almost 16 years of one-party rule. On
The constitutional commission was made up of 22 elected members, 14 from the SPPF and 8 from the DP. It commenced work on August 27, 1992 with both President Rene and Mancham calling for national reconciliation and consensus on a new democratic constitution. A consensus text was agreed upon on
July 23-26, 1993 saw the first multiparty presidential and legislative elections held under the new constitution, as well as a resounding victory for President Rene. Three political groups contested the elections--the SPPF, the DP, and the United Opposition (UO)--a coalition of three smaller political parties, including Parti Seselwa. Two other smaller opposition parties threw in their lot with the DP. All participating parties and international observer groups accepted the results as "free and fair."
Three candidates contested the March 20-22, 1998 presidential election--Albert Rene, SPPF; James Mancham, DP; and Wavel Ramkalawan--and once again President Rene and his SPPF party won a landslide victory. The President's popularity in elections jumped to 66.6% in 1998 from 59.5% in 1993, while the SPPF garnered 61.7% of the total votes cast in the 1998 National Assembly election, compared to 56.5% in 1993.
President: James Michel (2004)
Area: 176 sq mi (455 sq km)
Population (2005 est.): 81,188 (growth rate: 0.4%); birth rate: 16.2/1000; infant mortality rate: 15.5/1000; life expectancy: 71.8; density per sq mi: 462
Capital and largest city (2003 est.):
Languages: Seselwa Creole, English, French (all official)
Ethnicity/race: mixed French, African, Indian, Chinese and Arab
Religions: Roman Catholic 86.6%, Anglican 6.8%, other Christian 2.5%, other 4.1%
Based on per capita income, the overall performance of the economy since independence must be considered satisfactory, with a seven-fold increase from some $1,000 per capita in 1976 to $7,600 today. The public sector, comprising the government and state-owned enterprises, dominates the economy in terms of employment (two-thirds of the labor force) and gross revenue. Public consumption absorbs over one-third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP growth in 2001 was 3.3%.
The economy rests on tourism and fishing. For 2000, the Central Bank estimates that the
But the country’s economy is extremely vulnerable to external shocks. Not only does it depend on tourism, but it imports more than 90% of its total primary and secondary production inputs. Any decline in tourism quickly translates into a fall in GDP, a decline in foreign exchange receipts, and budgetary difficulties. Furthermore, recent changes in the climate have greatly affected the tuna industry.