Seychelles leader sworn in despite contested win

The President of the Seychelles, James Michel addresses a meeting in 2015 (AFP Photo/Rassin Vannier)

Victoria (Seychelles) (AFP) - Seychelles President James Michel was sworn back in for a third term on Sunday, despite calls from the opposition for a recount after he won a second-round vote by the slimmest of margins.

Michel, in power since 2004, officially began a new five-year term in a ceremony at the presidential residence in Victoria, the capital on the Indian Ocean archipelago's main island of Mahe, alongside his vice-president Danny Faure.

The Seychelles' electoral commission said Saturday that Michel, 71, had won the second round of the election by just 193 votes -- with 50.15 percent support against 49.85 percent for his rival Wavel Ramkalawan.

Five-time candidate Ramkalawan, an Anglican pastor who received a boost in the run-off round thanks to the opposition rallying around him, immediately declared that he did not accept the results because of "several irregularities".

He announced that he had written to the president of the electoral commission to demand a full recount, while also calling for his supporters to remain calm.

The commission is due to meet Monday to discuss whether the recount request is valid.

"If there are people who have doubts about the results of the elections, they can bring the affair before the courts, and the courts will decide," Michel said Sunday.

Authorities closed the main streets leading to his residence ahead of the inauguration over fears of attracting protests.

Michel has pledged to boost the economy and eradicate poverty in the Seychelles, long seen as a tax haven for the world's super-rich.