French loses out to Creole in Seychelles election

1st August 2006, Comments 0 comments

VICTORIA, Aug 1, 2006 (AFP) - Election observers from the organization of French-speaking nations on Tuesday praised weekend polls in the Seychelles but lamented a lack of French used by candidates and officials in the process.

VICTORIA, Aug 1, 2006 (AFP) - Election observers from the organization of French-speaking nations on Tuesday praised weekend polls in the Seychelles but lamented a lack of French used by candidates and officials in the process.

The five-strong Francophonie team noted with satisfaction the peaceful conduct of the three-day exercise that ended on Sunday with incumbent President James Michel winning a narrow victory over a strong opposition challenge.

At the same time, they expressed concern that French — one of three official languages in the far-flung Indian Ocean archipelago, along with English and Creole — had been under-utilized in both the campaign and polling.

Among their recommendations, the Francophonie observers urged "a more systematic usage of French in the electoral process, in keeping with provisions in the constitution that guarantee the equality of the three languages."

The call was made in a statement by the representatives of the 53-nation bloc that gave a positive assessment of the polls but did not elaborate on how much French was used in the campaign or by electoral officials.

However, anecdotal evidence suggested that most speeches at rallies, printed campaign posters and election material were almost entirely in Creole with a smattering of English, the two most widely spoken languages on the 115-island chain.

Seychelles was French colony until 1814 when it came under the control of Britain, becoming a crown colony in 1903 before winning independence in 1976.

Nearly all of its 85,000 inhabitants speak Creole, or pidgin French, and English, although many place names and surnames retain French characteristics even though its capital is named after a former British monarch.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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