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THE BEGINNING

In the early hours of 11 September 2016, the then Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Hendrick Gappy, declared the opposition-led LDS the winner of the legislative elections held in 25 districts, over Mahe, the Inner and Outer islands.

Their supporters jumped for joy as they celebrated that they had finally won in an election in 25 years. On the other hand, victory was a surprise for their candidates.
 For the first time since the return of multi-party politics, a group of four political parties formed an alliance that defeated Parti Lepep (PL) and procured a majority in the National Assembly. Sometime the mind wanders, if we re-open the sealed ballot boxes for a recount, will they give the same results!
Parti Lepep had a hard time digesting the fact that it had lost in an election, especially when its candidates were upbeat and confident that after a hard-fought campaign, they were going to be victorious.
So much has been done in the communities for the people to live a good life. The Parti Lepep Government has invested several millions in infrastructures, built hundreds of houses, renovated many and has been there for everybody during their good and bad moments. We have been assisting people to bury their loved ones, celebrating their joys such as birthdays, holy communions and even weddings.
We built the roads for transportation to become more accessible, given 99 % of household electricity and water. In every community there are three or four supermarkets within distance to each other, filled with a variety of commodities. We have built markets, hospitals or health centres and other facilities. We have always given them social protection so that no one is left behind. We did everything right.
Our politicians are volunteers who are always on call, they do visits and they are always at the service of the people. Yet, the folks decided this was not enough. They wanted more and trusted LDS to give them more.
Parti Lepep, which had never felt such setbacks and still shaken up that the presidential elections nine months earlier (December 2015) went into round two, felt traumatized and ‘injured’. Whilst most PL activists and supporters were in shock, the others were in total denial and have probably not recovered.
To lose the Assembly left us in a state of depression. Some of us were very afraid and until to date, still disheartened and the party appears to be still recovering from these shocks. But to be honest, it was not about being wired to win all the time. It was more about what would happen next. What do we do? We have to wait another five years to contest that same elections. Some people ask, why care so much? It is those who trusted LDS who have to worry whether LDS live up to their expectations.
But then again, winning becomes the only option for Parti Lepep because the worth and security of this country and the people has always depended on Parti Lepep performing at heroic levels. The events that have unfolded after LDS won the Assembly and are still happening are proving exactly that. Those who did not vote for Parti Lepep are realising their mistakes.
They are realising that our party has to win at all costs and winning both the presidential as well as the legislative power.
When those who voted for the opposition are regretting the choices they made, we reiterate that, some dispirited politicians in Parti Lepep are still asking whether it was worth it to care that much, all this time, and then be rejected at the polls. Losing sounds too personal for Parti Lepep. It is about the dedication and loyalty over so many years. Parti Lepep has shielded the people over so many years from the harm of the opposition. In 2016, the people wanted to experience for themselves and there was nothing Parti Lepep could do but let them. We had warned them so many times. At the end of the day, the power is not with political parties but the people.
Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) that won the majority is not the strongest political party in the country. LDS is made up of four political parties, each shaped by their own agenda and they combined forces to defeat Parti Lepep.
Interestingly, the Seychelles National Party of Wavel Ramkalawan proved once again that it was never to be considered as the strongest political party in the Opposition. As it usually does when desperate, SNP joins other smaller parties. In 2016 SNP joined the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy (SPSJD), Seychelles United Party (SUP), Independent candidate Philip Boulle and newly-created Lalyans Seselwa, which showed more strength than SNP existing for 25 years.
The SNP leader Wavel Ramkalawan lost in the first round of the presidential elections  and also with an alliance (Linyon Sanzman) in the second round against former President James Michel. He also lost in the legislative polls the following year, when a few of his colleagues, some new-fangled character with no ‘impressive political backgrounds’ shockingly won their districts. He lost against a newcomer in English River- a young 33 year-old whose only political background was his family, deeply-rooted in SPUP. That started with his grandparents, transcended to his father and uncle.
Wilbert Herminie was against Ramkalawan who always gets what he wants and who considers himself a political favourite in the opposition circle. We have to admit that he has learned a few ropes along the way but still lacks what is crucial for leadership. He is not a favourite but he is persistent.
When they were celebrating their victory, PL supporters were to receive more bad news, the president resigned at the head of the country and later as president of the party. His successor Mr. Danny Faure found himself in a rather complicated situation with LDS in the Assembly, and Parti Lepep in Executive.
This unique and rather complex situation that some call cohabitation and others has no description for it, was definitely not providing a position suitable for just  anyone to take. But somebody had to do it. One remarkable attribute of people groomed for leadership roles in Parti Lepep, they learn to make sacrifices. They put others before self. They are ready at all time to take on difficult responsibilities. They are selfless and fearless. They fall in love with the job. They prepare themselves to lose it all, even friends and family.
Mr. Faure, by accepting to take this challenge has done everybody a huge favour. For those who have not realised that by now, will someday recognise and appreciate that he volunteered to make the ultimate sacrifice of himself and probably some of his personal principles. This job has to be done correctly and he needs to have proper political judgement. At the top has always been a lonely place. You take the final decision and you also accept the critics. Mr. Faure’s final answer to himself and others, always has to be “why not me?”
He took over the presidency and outlined his plans. But the hardest decision he had to take, which probably no one has ever stopped to consider, was to relinquish control he had in the party leadership. To some that meant abandoning his beliefs or political affiliation, to him it meant making the right move.
He faced a lot of criticisms. Nobody wanted to understand that in order to win; the President had to surrender what to him is the most fundamental. He joined the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF) at the age of 16. He went to Cuba to study Political Science to pursue a career and live a life alongside Parti Lepep. His greatest admirer in politics will always be Mr. France Albert René. He was coached to take on this role he finds himself in and he follows the paradigm he has inherited- the great principles of social justice left behind by Mr. René- the man who abandoned his career in Law in England to come to Seychelles to lead a struggle to rescue the country and the people from political, social and economic prejudice of pre-1977.
 In politics preached and lived by Parti Lepep, it is not the leader who becomes the winner even if he makes personal sacrifices. They do it for the greater good of everybody else.
This is what makes Parti Lepep different compared to all political parties. This is why the party continues to care in spite of the ‘rebuff’ the party received from the people in 2016. But even in losing, we leave no one behind. All President Faure needs is our continued support. Honestly speaking, at first that did not come voluntarily, he had to make everything happen, every step of the way, against the odds in the mind of some people who have their own version of how the situation should have been handled.
There is no blame game for the situation that Parti Lepep finds itself in. By now everyone has accepted that each person had a role to play, and whether they had played that role right is something else. The ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ are useless now.
 Was I doing the job that I volunteered to do? Did I make any mistake? If we all agree that probably yes, we are humans and therefore we made mistakes then it would be easier to get over the shocks that happened 2 years ago, and get to work with vigour and determination to make it right the next time. Everyone will be in a better frame of mind to understand that President Faure is not having the time of his life at State House. That he needs trust and support from everyone, especially from those who voted for LDS. By now, the majority of people know that the situation of having LDS in the Assembly cannot continue. They have to leave the National Assembly in 2021. The question now is what are we doing to make this happen?
What have we learned and probably still learning from this cohabitation? It is definitely not a situation that is good for Seychelles. The country will not thrive if it continues in future to have Parti Lepep in Executive and LDS in the Assembly. Cohabitation is not designed as a tool to seek revenge. It is not designed as a tool to contest individual strength of power. It is designed as a collaboration of the different arms of government to help the country progress.
This means that cohabitation can only succeed with the right group of politicians who understand that purpose. With LDS, this is not happening. Seychelles is too small for political instability. It damages our economy, the social fabrics of our society, including our values, our children and families are being affected and in general it creates doubts that are not good for our country.

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