The Seychelles' ruling party, United Seychelles (US), has started the process of choosing a candidate for the 2020 presidential elections.
Since last Friday the party has invited candidates to file an expression of interest. The party will vote on who its candidate will be at the party's congress next month.
The potential candidates have to be endorsed by at least 100 registered members of the party.
The party's Secretary General, who is also the chief executive, Andy Jean-Louis, told SNA that the process is a new one under United Seychelles' new constitution which was adopted by Congress last November.
"Previously it was the norm for the party's leader or secretary general to be the candidate automatically. With the amendment in our constitution, any person within the party can submit their candidacy, making this process more open," explains Jean-Louis.
He added that the process is taking place now as the US finalised its rules for the selection only a week prior.
Under the new rules, the potential candidates will be vetted by the party's Ethics Committee and they will have to declare all their assets and liabilities.
Jean-Louis said that all candidates are also required to sign a form to show their commitment to support the final presidential candidate that is elected at the congress.
"During the selection process, the secretariat of the party has to be neutral and unbiased but once Congress endorses the final candidate, then all of us, including the others who submitted their candidacy, have to rally behind the final candidate," he said.
Jean-Louis says that so far only President Danny Faure has requested the application form.
Faure announced his intention to stand as a candidate in a special address on May 29.
He was the running mate of former President James Michel, who resigned less than a year after winning the 2015 election. Faure who was the Vice President took over the presidency.
The people who are working on behalf of Mr Faure have already collected the form and I am aware that they are going through the process of getting the required signatures for his candidacy," said Jean-Louis.
The potential candidates who meet the party's criteria after vetting and endorsement by the national executive committee will then be brought before the Congress next month where the final candidate who will stand for the party will be decided through a vote.
For the post of vice-president, Jean-Louis explained that the committee will set a date for the designated candidate to choose his or her running mate.
"We don't want to impose a vice presidential candidate on the presidential hopeful, so we leave it up to him or her to choose the running mate that he feels would be ideal and help him win the elections," Jean-Louis told SNA.
The vice president will also go through the same vetting process and endorsement by the committee and the Congress. The candidate does not need the 100 signatures.
Potential candidates have until July 15 to file an expression of interest.
The party's secretariat will then have four days for verification followed by the vetting process on July 22. The exercise is expected to be completed by August 1.
United Seychelles, previously Parti Lepep, has won all presidential elections since the return of multiparty democracy in 1993.
The party lost the legislative elections for the first time in its history in 2016 and for the first time the President of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is not the leader of the ruling party.
Read the original article on Seychelles News Agency.
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