On his sixth attempt Wavel Ramkalawan, an Anglican cleric, has become the President for Seychelles bringing to an ending decades in opposition, but as Tim Ecott reports from the Indian Ocean archipelago – he now has to bring unify the country.
“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 a gathering of invited dignitaries assembled in the manicured grounds of State House.
His election into governance marks a seismic change for the islands, where the presidency has been dominated by one party since the year 1977.
In front of the grand Victorian colonial mansion and accompanied by a military guard of honour, the 58-year-old clergy was sworn in by the chief justice on Monday.
The new president is an ordained minister of the church of Anglican, 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 referred to as a return to civility, to a society where everyone says good morning to one another and where racial and social differences are put aside.