On his sixth attempt Wavel Ramkalawan, an Anglican cleric, has become Seychelles’ president ending decades in opposition, but as Tim Ecott reports from the Indian Ocean archipelago – he now has to bring the country together.
Short presentational grey line
“After 43 years we have regained democracy. The road has been long and now we will reap its rewards.”
There was only the merest hint of triumphalism in President Wavel Ramkalawan’s acceptance speech as he addressed an audience of invited dignitaries assembled in the manicured grounds of State House.
His election marks a seismic change for the islands, where the presidency has been dominated by one party since 1977.
In front of the grand Victorian colonial mansion and accompanied by a military guard of honour, the 58-year-old was sworn in by the chief justice on Monday.
The new president is an ordained Anglican minister, and not surprisingly his overall message was one of peace, tolerance and an appeal for all Seychellois to work together for national unity, and to overcome the divisions of so many years of political wrangling.
Thanking outgoing President Danny Faure for keeping political dialogue open over the past few years, Mr Ramkalawan stressed the need for tolerance among the Seychellois people and appealed for what he called a return to civility, to a society where everyone says good morning to one another and where racial and social differences are put aside. (BBC)