The Seychelles' President, Danny Faure, is asking the Electoral Commission to organise a referendum for electorates to decide on whether a Seychellois living abroad can vote in any elections organised in the island nation.
In an address on televisions and radio stations on Monday, Faure said that the time has come before a presidential is held next year for the Seychellois people to answer this question.
"The question is -- should a Seychellois residing abroad be registered as a voter and vote in any elections that are organised here in Seychelles? Yes or No? Under the law it's only myself as the President of the Republic that has the prerogative to put a subject before the electoral commission for a referendum to be held," Faure said.
Seychelles had a constitutional referendum in 1993 following the amendment of the constitution in 1992 when multiparty democracy was reintroduced. The 1993 Constitution does not allow a Seychellois living abroad to vote in presidential or legislative elections nor in a referendum.
Faure said that after 26 years debates are still being done on whether a Seychellois living abroad should have the right to vote or not.
"As a people, we have to decide upon it so that the Constitution and the electoral laws reflect what the Seychellois people want," he said.
The head of state said, "As of tomorrow the 28 May, the day that the Electoral Commission will officially receive my letter, they will have seven days in line with the law to meet and fix the date that the referendum will be held."
He added that if a 60 percent majority of electorates vote yes a Bill will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval.
"Such a Bill will make it a right for a Seychellois living abroad to vote in any election which is organised here in Seychelles," said Faure, who invites all citizens to participate in an active debate on this subject.
"I ask the media to organise programmes. I wish that debate on the subject is done in an atmosphere that shows our maturity and that at the end of the day electorates will make a good decision," he added.
In his address, Faure also announced that he intends to stand as a candidate for the presidential election in 2020.
"I will ask my party, of which I've been a member for 39 years to support my candidacy," he said.
Faure had announced in May 2017, that as the President of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, that he will not be at the head of a political party.
Faure also reminded citizens that any citizen who qualifies can stand as a presidential candidate.
"Our Constitution is clear. Any citizen can come together and form a political party and nominate a candidate for a presidential election. What is important is that the law is followed and respected," he said.
Faure said that the mandate of the Electoral Commission is to ensure that all modern laws are in place so that the presidential election in 2020 is done under a strong solid legal framework.
He ended his address in saying that "tonight I renew my commitment to continue to work even harder for Seychelles and for all Seychellois."