Before 1978 there were two political parties, the Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP) and the Seychelles People's United Party (SPUP), both founded in 1964. In the last legislative elections prior to independence, on 25 April 1974, the SDP won 13 of 15 elective seats and the SPUP 2. Appointments in June 1975 brought total party strength to 18 for the SDP and 7 for the SPUP. The successor to the SPUP, the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF), was established in 1979 as the sole legal party, with the avowed objective of creating a Socialist state; the SDP was declared to have "disappeared." There were at least three opposition groups in exile. In the 1979 parliamentary elections, 55 candidates sanctioned by the SPPF competed for 23 elective seats in the People's Assembly. In the 1983 parliamentary elections, 17 of the 23 elected candidates ran unopposed; and in the December 1987 elections, 36 candidates, all of them members of the SPPF, competed for the 23 seats in the People's Assembly.
After René's announcement of a return to multi-party democracy, parties began to organize in preparation for an election to a constituent assembly in July 1992. Many dissidents returned from exile and the Democratic Party (DP) was reestablished. Also established were the Seychelles Party (PS), the Seychelles Democratic Movement (MSPD), and the Seychelles Liberal Party (SLP).
After the 23 July 1993 elections, eight opposition members obtained seats in the 33-seat National Assembly. René won the presidential election with 59.5% of the vote. The Parti Seselwa, the Seychellois National Movement and the National Alliance Party opposed the adoption of the new constitution in 1993 and contested the July 1993 elections as the United Opposition (UO) coalition. Its presidential candidate, former president Mancham, received 36.6% of the vote. The SPPF won 21 legislative seats to the DP's 1. The SPPF was also given 6 of the 11 seats apportioned according to the percentage of the votes won; the DP, 4 seats; and the UO, 1 seat.
In the 1998 elections, the SPPF captured 30 seats; the UO three; and the DP only one seat. The Reverend Wavel Ramkalawan replaced James Mancham as leader of the opposition, and in late 1998, the UO changed its name to the Seychelles National Party (SNP). In National Assembly elections in December 2002, the SPPF captured 23 seats to 11 for the SNP.