14 January 2016: ELECTION PETITIONS: Summary of Proceedings by the Special Rapporteur

 

Day 1 –14 January 2016, 2 pm – Constitutional Court of Seychelles

In the matter of Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan v The Electoral Commission, James Alix Michel and the Attorney-General

Two petitions were lodged before the Constitutional Court of Seychelles; namely a petition under Article 130 of the Constitution dated 28 December 2015 and an election petition under Article 51 of the Constitution and Section 44 of the Elections Act, Cap 68A, dated 5th January 2016.

The Constitutional Court is made up of the Honourable Chief Justice Twomey, Honourable Judge McKee and Honourable Judge Akiiki-Kiiza. Mr. WavelRamkalawan (Petitioner) was represented by Mr. Bernard Georges, The Electoral Commission (First Respondent) was represented by Miss Samantha Aglae, Mr James Michel (Second Respondent) was represented by Mr Basil Hoareau together with Mrs Laura Valabhji and Mr David Esparon together MrAnanth Subramanian was standing in for the Attorney-General (Third Respondent).

The case was called for the first time today. The Constitutional Court was of the view that the two petitions should be heard together. There were no objections raised by the Respondents. The Petitioner raised the issue that one petition was a constitutional petition and the other an election petition and questioned whether in the circumstances the Court still wished to hear the two matters together. The Court decided it would proceed to hear the cases at the same time but as there are two petitions, the responses would have to be filed separately. The Court has therefore given the Respondents two weeks to file a response to both petitions.

It was decided by the Court that the Respondents would file their responses to the petitions by the 28th January 2016, thereby giving the Respondents an equal amount of time as the Petitioner had to file the election petition.

The case will be called on the 2nd February 2016 at 9 am for a preliminary hearing on which date the parties will be able to address or raise any pre-hearing issues or questions.

The case is scheduled to start on the 15th February 2016 and will continue until the 3rd March 2016 on which date the Court will evaluate whether there is a need to schedule more hearing dates. The parties have indicated that there may be up to 80 witnesses giving evidence in the matter.

Legal note:

Article 130 of the Constitution deals with constitutional questions before the Constitutional Court. Article 51 deals with qualifications for election as President and election. Section 44 of the Elections Act deals with election petitions. For more information see Constitution of Seychelles and the Elections Act on www.seylii.org.

Under the Elections Act section 44(3) an election petition to determine the question as to whether a person has been validly elected to the office of President may be presented within 14 days of the publication of the results.

Special Rapporteur