In July 2009, the ruling party changed its name from the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) to the People's
Party (PP). It is the majority party, holding 23 seats in the National Assembly and previously was the sole
legal party. The Seychelles National Party (SNP) holds the remaining 11 seats. The last presidential and
legislative national elections were held in July 2006 and May 2007 respectively. The next elections will
be held in August 2011 (presidential) and May 2012 (legislative)
The reform programme enacted in November 2008, represents a U-turn from the PP's quasi-socialist heritage, and
is closer to SNP policy. This may make it hard for the opposition to capitalise on the shift in political terms,
as the PP is likely to take most of the credit. The recent rebranding of the ruling party signals its break with
the past and aims to link the PP name with economic progress. This may force the SNP to rethink its policy
platform to be able to differentiate its message from that of the ruling party. The reform programme will also
continue to facilitate closer relations with the country's key partners.
During the last half of 2009, Seychelles signed Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) with the US, France and the
EU's Atalanta naval mission, thereby legalising their presence in the country. This was in response to increased pirate
activity in the Indian Ocean including within Seychelles' 320-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Seychelles has sent troops
to potentially vulnerable outer islands to check piracy activities in its waters, while the EU has deployed manned aircraft
and the US unmanned drones to improve surveillance.