Former president of Seychelles France-Albert Rene, died on Wednesday aged 83, state television said.
Rene, who died in hospital, was the “modern day architect of Seychelles”, President Danny Faure said in a statement.
“He was a true patriot who cared about his country and his people.”
Rene, who studied as a lawyer in London, served as prime minister before overthrowing the archipelago’s founding president James Mancham in a bloodless coup in 1977.
“Rene’s vision was nothing less than acquiring and retaining absolute power for himself at all costs,” said Paul Chow, a former member of parliament who was forced into exile under his rule. “He should be judged not on what he said, but on what he did.”
Rene set up a one-party socialist state, ruling the Indian Ocean islands until 2004, and defeating Mancham after the return of multi-party politics in elections held in 1998.
He stepped down in 2004, handing over power to his then vice-president James Michel.
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