Die S. wurden von Portugiesen im 16. Jh. entdeckt; 1743 kamen sie in frz. Besitz. Seit 1814 waren sie brit.; seit 1903 mit anderen Inseln Kronkolonie; seit 1976 unabh. Rep.; Staats- u. Reg.-Chef ist seit 1977 F.-A. René.
1. A group of 86 islands north of Madagascar.
2. A republic on the Seychelles islands.
Country in the Indian Ocean, off E Africa, N of Madagascar.
Seychelles is a republic within the Commonwealth. The 1993 constitution provides for a president, directly elected for a five-year term, who is head of both state and government. There is a single-chamber, 33-member national assembly, 22 of its members elected by direct universal suffrage, and 11 by proportional representation. They serve a four-year term.
For early history, see Africa. The islands were probably visited by the Portuguese about 1500 and became a French colony 1744. Seychelles was ceded to Britain by France 1814 and was ruled as part of Mauritius until it became a crown colony 1903.
In the 1960s several political parties were formed, campaigning for independence, the most significant being the Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP), led by James Mancham, and the Seychelles People's United Party (SPUP), led by France-Albert René. René demanded complete independence, while Mancham favored integration with Britain.
In 1975 internal self-government was agreed. The two parties then formed a coalition government with Mancham as prime minister. In June 1976 Seychelles became an independent republic within the Commonwealth, with Mancham as president and René as prime minister.
The following year René staged an armed coup while Mancham was attending a Commonwealth conference in London, and declared himself president. A new constitution was adopted 1979, creating a one-party state, with the SPUP being renamed the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF). René, as the only candidate, was formally elected president 1979 and then reelected 1984 and 1989. There were several unsuccessful attempts to overthrow him, the last reported 1987.
René followed a policy of nonalignment and prohibited the use of port facilities to vessels carrying nuclear weapons. He maintained close links with Tanzania, which provided military support. The demise of the USSR and the consequential loss of economic support considerably weakened René's position.
The constitution was revised 1991 to allow for multiparty politics. In 1992 James Mancham, the former president, returned from exile in the UK, announcing that he hoped to contest the presidency. A multiparty election, the first since 1974, was held July 1992 and won by the SPPF. The election was to a 20-member commission to draft a new, democratic constitution, and in June 1993 a new multiparty constitution was adopted. René defeated Mancham in the country's first multiparty presidential elections July 1993.