The Seychelles president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The previous president, France Albert René, first came to power in a coup d'état in 1977, one year after independence.
He was democratically elected after the constitutional reforms of 1992. He stepped down in 2004 in favor of his vice-president, James Michel, who was re-elected in 2006. The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature.
The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale, consists of 34 members, of whom 25 are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining nine seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms.
The main rival parties are the ruling socialist Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF), as of 2009 the SPPF became the People's Party (PP) or Parti Lepep (LP), and the liberal democrat Seychelles National Party (SNP). Politics has been an integral part of the lives of the Seychellois since its inception in the early sixties. The range of opinion spans socialist and liberal democratic ideology.
President James Michel in his office in Victoria, Seychelles in 2009.
Seychelles is part of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), La Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Seychelles performed excellently on the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, ranking 2nd out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries. Particularly good were its scores in Safety and Security, Participation and Human Rights, and Human Development. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.
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