Seychelles court overrules parliament dissolution

15:27, July 19, 2011      

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The Seychelles National Assembly (parliament), which dissolved itself last week, will reconvene on Tuesday after the Indian Ocean island country's Constitutional Court overruled that decision.

The main opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) brought the matter to the Constitutional Court along with the decision of Speaker Patrick Herminie, not to entertain its demand to replace two proportionally-elected Members of the National Assembly (MNA).

The two members banished from the SNP voted for a motion tabled by the ruling party Lepep last Tuesday, which led to a two-thirds majority of vote to dissolve the assembly.

The ruling of the three-member panel in the Constitutional Court, two Seychellois and an expatriate, on Monday supported the argument of the opposition lawyer, Bernard Georges, who in an interview to the national television station SBC had earlier described the dissolution of the National Assembly as "illegal and unconstitutional."

The court agreed that the speaker should have given notice of the demand for dissolution by putting it on the Order Paper.

Sources close to the Office of the Speaker pointed out, however, that the speaker still can dissolve the National Assembly as it is a right invested in him and intended to be executed at Tuesday's sitting.

The SNP has boycotted most sessions of the assembly since James Michel, leader of the Lepep, was re-elected in the presidential election in May. The two rivalry parties each accused the other of rigging the electoral process.

The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, has a 34 members for the just dissolved assembly elected through a mix electoral system.

Of the lawmakers, 25 are elected directly to represent each of the country's districts and the remaining seats are allocated in proportion to the votes garnered by each party.

The Lepep, the longtime ruling party since the country's independence in 1976, secured 23 seats while the SNP had 11 in the dissolved assembly.

The fresh election for a new legislature will take place within the next three months instead of April next year, the time the election would have taken place if the assembly is allowed to complete its mandate.

It is widely expected that the Lepep will secure a two-thirds majority in the coming election, giving it absolute control of the Assembly and enough leverage to push through its agendas.

Source: Xinhua
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