Seychelles' parliament rejects private member's bill on political functions of Speaker, DS and LOTO 

General |Author: Betymie Bonnelame | June 20, 2024, Thursday @ 14:19| 2846 views

Roger Mancienne, the Speaker of the National Assembly. (Seychelles Nation)

The National Assembly of Seychelles on Wednesday rejected a private member's bill seeking to remove the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker (DS) from the political hold of his or her political party and for this to apply to the office of the Leader of the Opposition (LOTO).

The Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles (Eleventh Amendment) Bill, 2024, was brought forward by the Leader of the Opposition, Sebastien Pillay, as a private member's bill from the United Seychelles (US) party.  

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Roger Mancienne, is the president of the ruling party Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and the Deputy Speaker is Gervais Henrie, the party's secretary general.  

In his presentation, Pillay said that when entering the National Assembly, there is a motto "Serving A Modern Democracy."

"The fundamental question we must ask as a National Assembly is whether we are serving a modern democracy. Is the National Assembly fulfilling the role of serving a modern democracy? We maintain after everything we see happening this is not the case," he said.

Pillay said that in his research he has seen several documents that showed that although a speaker can be part of a political party, which in itself is not important, what is important is that a speaker must be able to distinguish between the allegiance to the party and the duty towards parliament.

"Seychelles for the first time in its history has a Speaker who not only is responsible for his party's policy, has the power to appoint and remove proportionate members. In a sense,  for the first time in our history, a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker are both on high leadership level of the Party with a majority in the National Assembly," he stressed.

Pillay highlighted several instances where he felt that the Speaker was not impartial and that the National Assembly was not fulfilling its motto and this he said happens often during private notice questions and when questioning ministers.

On his side, the Leader of Government Business, Bernard Georges, said the only functions of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly, are to be fair and just in their approaches.

He said he has not seen a fairer Speaker since he has been in the National Assembly.

Georges said it is not the fact that a person is a leader of a party that makes the person fair or unfair or the fact that a person is not a party leader that will make the person fair or unfair.

"It is the way the person behaves and leads the institution. There is nothing wrong with the fact that a speaker can be a party leader. We must not forget and we have to realise that this Assembly is a political one and that the Speaker is elected by politicians as they are member of the National Assembly. They have been elected directly like the Deputy Speaker or proportionally," he explained.

There were lengthy debates from both the members of the United Seychelles for the amendment and from those of the ruling party Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), against it.  

Twenty-two members of LDS voted against the Bill and nine members of United Seychelles voted for

Tags: Deputy Speaker, Speaker, National Assembly, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, United Seychelles


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