Seychelles. In February, ten Somali pirates were sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Seychelles court. As Somalia lacks a functioning legal system, trials are being conducted against pirates in Seychelles and other East African countries. The first pirates were convicted in Seychelles in 2010. The trials abroad are a step forward because suspected pirates were previously released when it was unclear where they would be brought to justice. At about the same time, the Seychelles signed the first agreement with Somalia to date to extradite convicted Somalis to their homeland so that they could serve their sentence there. The same agreement was signed with the republics of Somaliland and Puntland.
According to Countryaah official site, James Michel won the May 19-21 presidential election and was able to begin his third term as president of the country. He got 55% of the vote against 41 for main opponent Wavel Ramkalawan. The election went on for three days so that voters on remote islands in the geographically dispersed realm could also participate. Ramkalawan’s Seychelles National Party (SNP) and the ruling party Party Lepep accused each other of bribing voters.
At the election, the Seychelles’ economy seemed to be on the right track after the crisis, which had begun in connection with the international financial crisis in 2008 and which had forced the government into major cuts, including the number of government employees. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which supported Seychelles with loans and assistance, growth in 2011 would be around 4%.
On May 31, Michel formed a new government, but with the same ministers as before. The opposition party SNP accused the government of electoral fraud and boycotted the meetings of the National Assembly. Michel then announced new elections for September, almost a year earlier than planned. The SNP and a smaller party boycotted the parliamentary elections in protest that the government had not reviewed the laws governing how large sums of political parties can spend on election campaigns. The SNP considered that the current electoral laws favor the ruling party. The boycott caused several members of the SNP to jump off and form a new opposition party, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). The parliamentary elections also lasted for three days, 29 September – 1 October. The ruling party Lepep took home 89% of the votes and the new opposition party PDM got 11%.