Defending 15/10

For the first time in its political history, the main opposition party finds itself on the defensive in a legislative election. After the historical 15/10 win in the 2016 National Assembly elections, the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa had to deliver on its election promises to the people of fifteen constituencies. Led by the SNP leader who lost to a rookie in the English River district, LDS had to do good on their promises to bring down the cost of living, banish corruption and put the Seychellois in his rightful place in his own country. LDS promised to get to the bottom of the missing 50 million dollars.

When President Danny Faure dissolved the National Assembly in August this year and called for general elections one year ahead of scheduled time, he followed this with a scathing attack on LDS in his press conference. Faure accused LDS of not only hindering the work of the administration to deliver to the people of Seychelles, but also of neglecting their constituencies and not delivering on their promises.

Along with Faure’s attacks, One Seychelles which is also contesting these elections pointed out calmly that the two big parties have completely abandoned their voters after getting elected into the National Assembly and that they only looked out for themselves and their rich friends. One Sey-chelles has drawn attention that for the past fifteen months, it has been alone on the ground in the constituencies, listening to the plight of the man on the street who feels that his trust has been violated and that he has just been used to give a vote.

The past four years has seen activism as never before in Seychelles, as the public awoke to the threat of one of the country’s most beautiful islands being handed over to a foreign power as a military base. The patriotic sense of the Seychellois was aroused and the save Assomption movement was born, with Lalyans Seselwa and One Seychelles being the only political parties to espouse it from the start. In the meantime there was talk of the two big parties colluding to make the military base a reality in return for favors. The civilians were able to get enough support to force the hand of LDS to renege on its agreement with US to facilitate the military base by approving it in the National Assembly. It was people’s power rather than political commitment which won the day. However, it seems that all is not truly won and that Assomption may well be forced down the public’s throat after the elections.

Another fight for Seychelles sovereignty was won again through civil society action, where the Grand Police area development was stopped. Environmentalists thought the day had been won, but once again talks are emerging of a secret meeting in which Grand Police is once again on the cards.

While Grand Police and Assomption are both speculations, it is fact that despite public opinion and environmental impact assessment against it, another big project will definitely take off at Anse a la Mouche and forever change the ecology in that area, which is ideal for the farming com-munity it is currently part of. It is in the LDS held Baie Lazare district and the inhabitants feel let down by those they elected to protect their natural heritage.

At the same time in the PPBs the candidates for the 15 districts won by LDS can only lament lack of cooperation from the Faure administration, which has made them unable to deliver to their constituents. Yet, the same party’s Members of National Assembly had power to push through legislations to get things moving for the citizens, but they generally abstained or voted against. They did however formulate present and vote in a law to protect the interest of offshore investors in Sey-chelles. When the time came to vote for salary increase they again abstained.

This is why today LDS is finding itself in the unenviable position of defending from a weakened position when it comes to the National Assembly. It is also the reason that the tune has changed from MNAs who are there to be your voice, to legislate to candidates advocating that they will be doing this and that or the other project in the districts. This makes one wonder as to whether they are mixing up their roles with that of the DA?