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The opposition, which since the switch to  multiparty rule has always maintained that voting rights for non- resident Seychellois was not its priority, has suddenly, 25 years later come out for voting rights for the diaspora.

Presently, a Seychellois who has lived in Seychelles for at least three months  may register as a voter. But, according to LDS leader Roger Mancienne, this constitutes an obstacle  for Seychellois working abroad, because they cannot take three months off work .
Until  now, Seychellois who are studying abroad, or left Seychelles just a few years ago appear on the Voters’ Register.  
Currently, electoral laws state that one must reside  in an electoral area  in order to vote.  As Laura Valabhji, lawyer of Parti Lepep said the LDS proposal boils down to preferential treatment  to Seychellois who live overseas  and come to the country simply “to vote then go”.
People living in districts are those who can vote. So, how do we determine which district  people who live abroad belong to?
The questions arise whether the criteria  to register as voters  should include those who pay taxes, who own land  or hold passports.
Mrs Valabhji  said opening such a door will mean that a person who hasn’t lived in Seychelles for a decade, votes, then goes away, and couldn’t be bothered about the living conditions of the country.
She also said that it is unfair that people who live here, need to prove  that they live in an electoral area- yet those from abroad  come and choose where they register. It creates a big discrimination!
According to Mancienne, without Parti Lepep  in power for so long, many Seychellois would not have left the country.
Even within the Mancienne family, there are those who emigrated to Australia long before SPPF came to power in 1977.
The bulk of the diaspora presently live in UK, Australia and Canada. Smaller numbers are also found in France, Germany, South Africa and Kenya.  
During a recent state visit to Kenya, President Danny Faure met  some members of the Seychellois community living there. Several have emigrated to East  Africa, notably Kenya since several decades.  
It will be remembered that prior to independence and more especially before the international airport opened our islands to tourism,  there was hardly any development in Seychelles, besides picking coconuts and vanilla planting.
This state of affairs compelled  thousands of our countrymen to emigrate; notably to East Africa and Australia. Later some also went to UK and South Africa.
In many of these countries, the Seychellois community are now in their fourth generation. Many have never been to Seychelles.
However, many have also returned to their land of origin to take up the new opportunities now available. Many have business ventures at Providence and elsewhere. Some are doing so well that they have diversified in the auto, tourism, printing and newspaper business.
Those Seychellois residing, working and contributing to the country’s economy, of course, have every right to vote and decide their future.
It is another story, to give the vote to those residing abroad and coming to Seychelles, only occasionally  to “vote and leave.” 

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