Government

Under the 1993 constitution, Seychelles is a unitary republic with a multiparty democracy, a unicameral parliament and an executive president who is permitted to serve for a maximum of three five-year terms.

The independence constitution provided for a multiparty state. The 1979 constitution rendered Seychelles a one-party state, the sole candidate for a presidential election to be nominated by the ruling party. This constitution was amended in 1992 when multiparty democracy was reintroduced.

Under the 1993 constitution, the president is head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and is empowered to rule by decree.

The president appoints a cabinet of between seven and 14 members – not including members of parliament – subject to approval of the majority in the National Assembly.

The National Assembly comprises up to 35 seats, of which 25 are elected by universal adult suffrage, on a first-past-the-post basis, and up to ten additional seats are allocated on the basis of proportional representation. Parliamentary elections take place every five years, not necessarily at the same time as the presidential elections.

In 1996 the constitution was amended to create the office of vice-president.

The 1993 constitution provides for separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary. The judicial system derives from English common law and the French Napoleonic Code, and also includes elements of customary law.

The most serious civil and criminal cases, and appeals from the magistrates’ courts, come before the Supreme Court. The Constitutional Court is a division of the Supreme Court and deals with human rights as well as constitutional matters. Appeals from the Supreme Court are heard by the Court of Appeal. Other courts include the rent tribunal and the industrial court.