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Seychelles: Constitutional Review and Updating of Laws

(Apr. 9, 2010) On April 1, 2010, the Office of the President of Seychelles made public on its website a review of the country's Constitution, which was prepared by the Seychelles Constitutional Review Committee [CRC]. President James Michel has also invited public comments to be made in writing to Attorney-General Ronny Govinden. (President Asks for Start on Work to Update Constitution, SEYCHELLES NATION, Apr. 5, 2010, available at; Constitutional Review Committee Report, Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles website, Dec. 21, 2009, available at
.) The CRC report gives the number and subject matter of the articles being considered for amendment, with the CRC's recommended changes set forth under each article.

Michel has called upon Govinden to begin work to redraft certain laws that pre-date the country's Constitution and also to update parts of the country's Constitution itself. According to Govinden, there is a general consensus in many instances of the need to update or clarify a number of laws so that they conform to constitutional provisions; his office plans to submit proposed amendments of those laws to the National Assembly during 2010. Govinden stated, “[i]n redrafting the laws we will consider reviewing the laws which the committee that has been set up decides are contrary to certain constitutional articles,” inconsistent with other laws, or not complete. (Id.) In the drafting process, Govinden indicated, the committee will consult the bodies or agencies that deal with the given laws on a daily basis, in order to determine the extent of the changes needed. (Id.)

In regard to recommendations to revise the Constitution, Govinden stated that his office must provide for further consultation and discussion on the proposed changes “so they meet the wishes of the people,” given that a two-thirds majority vote in favor by the National Assembly or a referendum supported by 60% of the electorate is needed for constitutional amendment. (Id.) The Attorney-General will compile the public suggestions in the context of the CRC report and prepare a document for discussion. On the basis of that document, a national consultation exercise will be conducted in 2011, in furtherance of the CRC report's recommendation “that the public at large be given more opportunity to comment on proposed changes and amendments.” (Id.)