Will Acting Chief Justice swear in winner of Seychelles presidential election?

The five-year contract of Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey came to an end earlier this month, and a new judicial leader for Seychelles must now be appointed. That is the responsibility of the Constitutional Appointments Authority of Seychelles. In the meantime, however, an Acting Chief Justice has been named: Justice Melchior Vidot.

Judges who have attended training workshops offered by the Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa) in Cape Town may look at this photograph and see something familiar about the new Acting Chief Justice of Seychelles, Melchior Vidot.

That wouldn’t be surprising since he has participated in Jifa training on a couple of occasions during which he would have met judges from a number of other jurisdictions.

Former Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey, stood down earlier this month at the end of her five year contract. Now Judge Vidot is to serve as Acting Chief Justice until the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) of Seychelles appoints a new CJ. The official bulletin of the judiciary has so far given no indication of when that might be.

General Elections

ACJ Vidot joined the Seychelles bench in May 2016. He studied in the Seychelles and then in England before returning to Seychelles to continue his career in law.

Local media report that the proposal of Justice Vidot as ACJ pending the appointment of a new CJ came from the CAA.  Attorney General Frank Ally commented: ‘In the meantime, until a new Chief Justice is selected and takes his oath of office, the acting Chief Justice will perform all the functions of a Chief Justice.’

Another issue related to the timing of the new appointment, is that Seychelles is due to hold a general election later this month. Ally commented that if a new CJ has been appointed by then, the winning candidate as president will be sworn in by the CJ. Otherwise, the duty will fall on the ACJ.