Ex-president of Seychelles, France-Albert René dies at 83

He was a true patriot who cared about his country and his people – President Danny Faure
Ex-President of Seychelles, France-Albert Rene dies at 83.
Outgoing President France-Albert Rene of the Seychelles delivers a speech 14 April 2004 during a handing over of the reins ceremony in the capital Victoria 14 April 2003. President France-Albert Rene of the Seychelles, 68, retired after 27 years in power Wednesday, handing over the reins to his deputy, James Michel. AFP PHOTO DENIS ROSE (Photo by DENIS ROSE / AFP)

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.”

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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.

The Seychelles comprise some 115 islands scattered off the east coast of Africa, whose white sandy beaches and turquoise waters have made it a magnet for wealthy foreigners.

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