Voters in Seychelles cast the first ballots in the island nation's presidential and National Assembly elections on Thursday, the first of three days of voting.
At the top of the ballot three men are vying for president: Wavel Ramkalawan from the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), Danny Faure, the incumbent president of United Seychelles (US) and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles.
Voting is taking place on some outer islands and five special stations on the main island of Mahe: one at the Old People's Home at North East Point, one for remandees at the Remand Centre at Bois De Rose, one at English River creche, one at Baie Lazare community centre and one at the quarantine centre at Beau Vallon Bay.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the chief electoral officer, Manuella Amesbury, said all logistics have been set up for the first day of voting.
"A lot of emphases has been placed on the preparation taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic. We got the help of the Department of Health to set up COVID-19 procedures. We want a credible and safe election," said Amesbury.
A special station at English River crèche will be used by voters working in essential services who will be at work on the main election day and voters who will be travelling on October 22-24.
The chief executive of the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), Philip Morin, said that starting from Friday "more surveillance will be put in place in the voting stations to ensure that there is no mistake. Outside the station, we have inspected different zones that will supply the stations with electricity to detect if there is any problem."
Morin added that PUC is also putting generators in all districts and "this means if there is no electricity we can use the backup generators. We are also placing electrical and water engineers."
The second day, Friday, voting will take place on Astove, Assomption, Aldabra, Ile aux Vache, Denis and Fregate islands and at special stations on the main island of Mahe.
The main voting day will be on Saturday October 24 where voters will cast their ballots in the three most populated islands of Seychelles, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.
Four parties and two independent candidates will vie for a seat in the National Assembly, the island nation's legislative body. Linyon Demokratik Seselwa and United Seychelles have candidates in all the twenty-six electoral districts. One Seychelles and Lalyans Seselwa have 18 and three candidates respectively.
The district with the highest number of registered voters remains Anse Etoile with 4,064 while Roche Caiman has the smallest number with 1,990. A new voting district Perseverance has 3,083 registered voters.
The last presidential election in Seychelles took place in December 2015 and the National Assembly election in September 2016.