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BBC Country Profile, 10 January 2001

    [Map of country]
After an ominous, post-independence start which saw them lurch from a coup, through an invasion by mercenaries to an abortive army mutiny and several coup attempts, the Seychelles have stabilized and attained prosperity. Citizens enjoy a high per capita income, good health care and education.


Just a year after independence in 1976, the Seychelles appeared to be heading down the path of instability which has blocked the development of many African states.

The Prime Minister, France Rene, overthrew the President, James Mancham, and embarked on a programme aimed at giving poorer people a greater share of the country's wealth.

His coup, though bloodless, resulted in about 10,000 islanders fleeing the country. Four years later, with the help of Tanzanian troops, Rene thwarted an attempt by South African mercenaries to restore Mancham.

An army mutiny in 1982, followed by several attempted coups, suffered a similar fate.

However, in 1991, possibly in response to pressure from foreign creditors and aid donors, Rene restored multiparty democracy and went on to win the presidential elections in 1993 and 1998.

His party, the Seychelles People's Progressive Front, won parliamentary elections by a landslide in 1998. He also endorsed a shift towards a free-market economy.

Rene's opponents say that despite the return to multiparty democracy, the repressive atmosphere of a one-party state continues to prevail.


Population: 79,000
Capital: Victoria
Major languages: English, French, Creole
Major religion: Christianity
Form of government: Multiparty republic
Monetary unit: 1 Seychelles rupee = 100 cents
Main exports: Fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (re-exports)
Internet domain: .sc
Time zone: GMT+4
International dialling code: +248


President: France Albert Rene

    [President Albert Rene]
President Rene: longtime socialist

Born in the Seychelles in 1935, France Rene was educated in Switzerland and Britain, where he became active in the British Labour Party. He returned home in 1965 and founded the Seychelles People's United Party - which later became the Seychelles People's Progressive Front - and the islands' first trade union.

He campaigned against British rule and opposed the plans of James Mancham, leader of the Seychelles Democratic Party, for membership of the British Commonwealth.

  • Vice-President: James Michel
  • Foreign Minister: Jeremie Bonnelame
  • Defence Minister: France Rene
  • Interior Minister: France Rene
  • Finance Minister: James Michel


Freedom of speech has improved since one-party rule was abolished in 1993. There is one government-run daily newspaper and other publications which support the ruling Seychelles Progressive People's Front. Independent or pro-opposition publications are robust in their reporting despite tough libel laws.

The government-controlled Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, which operates both radio and TV services, provided substantial coverage to opposition as well as government candidates during the 1998 elections.

The population are also able to tune into the BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale which are relayed locally on FM.

The press

  • Seychelles Nation - government daily
  • Regar - opposition weekly
  • Seychelles Independent
  • The People


  • SBC Television - controlled by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (state broadcaster)


  • SBC operates a national mediumwave (AM) service as well as a 24-hour music service called Paradise FM
  • BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale are relayed locally on FM by SBC

News agency

  • Seychelles Agence Press