Alain St Ange, the president of the One Seychelles political party, has stepped down from the leadership post of the party he led in his return to Seychellois politics.
In the island nation’s October presidential vote, St Ange who is 66 years old, came in third with 1,021 votes — or 1.6 percent.
SNA talked to St Ange on his participation in the election and what is next for the former leader of the archipelago’s Ministry of Tourism.
SNA: How do you feel about the results of One Seychelles in the election and did that influence your decision to step down?
ASA: After losing the elections, resignation was the right thing to do. The people have made their choice and it is only right that those who were not successful allow fresh faces to prepare themselves for the next elections. This is the norm. It is my personal belief and also that of the party that a seed has been planted. This is a success in itself and I am happy that this was done.
SNA: Why do you think One Seychelles got low results in both elections?
ASA: The results of the 2020 elections showed the desire of the country to bring about change at all cost. Many who spoke to us said they were scared that a vote for One Seychelles could allow the Faure government to scrape back in.
That focus on change at all cost took priority on the decision-making process of the majority of Seychellois. We are of course sad that choice for the country was not a priority for all who voted, but the people got what the people wanted and must now live with it for five years.
SNA: What has your experience with One Seychelles and running for president taught you about politics in Seychelles?
ASA: I was honoured to have represented One Seychelles in the 2020 elections and to have led it in its startup days. Politics is politics and expectations by the voters remains the key to success. The 2020 election was a referendum on Danny Faure and United Seychelles and a choice from two opposition parties.
Change was the keyword but people preferred Mr. Ramkalawan over me and today Seychelles must accept this. I can say it was, and remains, an honour to have been chosen to represent the One Seychelles political party as their presidential candidate. It was also a privilege to have worked tirelessly by the party’s executive sides over the course of the two years as the party president to advance the party’s common goals and to give voice to the vulnerable members of society who have steadfastly and relentlessly been oppressed, silenced and marginalised. The causes we have been championing and the values we have sought to uphold and defend are just as important today as they were when we embarked jointly upon this journey.
St Ange hopes that One Seychelles will be participating in the upcoming elections with fresh, young and capable candidates ready to take the helm. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
SNA: Would you say that Seychelles has room to support only two parties? Or is there room for more?
ASA: Seychelles has been stuck with a two-party politic approach since politics started in earnest. It does not really provide an option when it is only either or approach. A third force is needed.
SNA: Why did you step down from One Seychelles and will that party go on or do you think it will quietly fade away?
ASA: One Seychelles will continue. Peter Sinon as secretary general of the party assumes the acting role as president of the party until the January convention. My decision to step down is twofold. When I accepted my nomination initially to represent the party, I made it widely known that I would only be in a position to do one term, on account of my age. I gave it my best, and Seychelles made its choice.
In five more years, the present government and its performance will be vetted by the citizens of Seychelles, and they will have the opportunity to choose once more. It is my sincere hope that One Seychelles will be participating in the upcoming elections with fresh, young and capable candidates ready to take the helm. The groundwork has been done, and I have every confidence that the momentum will continue to build over the course of the next five years.
My second reason for stepping down is that my role in politics would conflict heavily with any advancement in my career within the field of tourism. I am in the process of exploring some avenues, and I am excited by the prospect of flying the Seychelles flag in some capacity on the global stage soon.
SNA: What are your plans for the coming months and years?
ASA: I have a tourism consultancy business and will go back to work for tourism, the industry I understand well and one that I enjoy. I have many feelers out and on the international front many opportunities exist as tourism destinations plan their reopening.
SNA: What is your advice moving forward for this difficult time for Seychelles’ tourism industry?
ASA: Seychelles needs to innovate and be proactive. We have a strong list of key unique selling propositions and we need to move would-be holidaymakers to our shores.
SNA: Where will you be and where do you think Seychelles will be in 10 years?
ASA: This I cannot say. I will be fully retired by then, this I know. We shall be sailing in troubled waters and need to ensure our tourism industry players are cared for so that they can continue to provide employment for our people and keep our country’s economy alive. Seychelles will be where we take Seychelles.