After a time in exile in the United Kingdom, Mancham returned to the islands following the Seychelles' transition to democracy in 1993. He has led the SDP since its founding. At the last elections of 6 December 2002 the party won 3.1% of the vote and failed to gain representation in the National Assembly. In February 2005 Mancham stepped down with Nichol Gabriel assuming the interim leadership of the party. In March 2006 Paul Chow was elected as party leader in a vote held by the executives of the party.