Elections in Mauritius
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The government is formed by the party or group which controls a majority on the unicameral legislature. The National Assembly has 70 members, 62 elected for a four-year term in 21 multi-member constituencies and 8 additional "best loser" members appointed by the Supreme Court.
The president and vice-present is then elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term by the parliament. On a regional level, the country has village & district council, and municipal elections every 6 years.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Main Political Parties (chronological order)
- 3 Elections
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 References
- The government is formed by the largest party/group alliance in the National Assembly.
- The leader of the single party winning the highest number of seats becomes the Prime Minister and leads the government.
- The Leader of the second largest party in the house (unless it is in alliance with the majority party) becomes the Leader of the Opposition.
- The Prime Minister is the denominator to determine which party actually forms the government while the other parties (in case of an alliance) are considered as being in the government till they support the majority party. They can be normally revoked at any time by the Prime Minister as members of the government.
Main Political Parties (chronological order)
- The Labour Party is the oldest political party formed and is still one of the main parties on the political front. Formed in 1936 by a group of people including Dr. Maurice Cure, Renganaden Seeneevasen, Professor Hassenjee and Emmanuel Anquetile among others. It is later led by the legendary Chacha Ramgoolam from 1948. The party in alliance with the Muslim Action Committee (CAM) and the Independent Forward Block (IFB) negotiated independence and end of colonial British rule in the country. It won the elections of 1967 and made an alliance with then main opposition party PMSD led by Gaetan Duval. They together passed a bill to postpone the 1972 elections to 1976. With continuous criticism and rather poor performance from 1971 and onward, it suffered a first electoral minor defeat in 1976. It managed to stay in power with the support of PMSD. It finally suffered a severe electoral defeat in 1982 and Seewoosagur Ramgoolam eventually resigned as Leader in the following year. From 1983 to 1991, Sir Satcam Boolell was leader of the party and supported the MSM-led government from 1983 to 1988. Navin Ramgoolam (son of chacha) was appointed as Leader in 1991 and restructured the torn party. Being the son of the father of the nation, his election became very emotional and the Labour Party won the 1995 elections (with a strategic alliance with the MMM). After the party lost in 2000, it came back in 2005 and won again the elections of 2010. It finally suffered a major defeat in the last 2014 elections.
- Le Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate (PMSD) is the second oldest main political party formed in 1955 by Jules Koenig. The party was considered a main political force up to 1982. The PMSD became the only main party to disagree with the idea of an independent Mauritius. Led by Gaetan Duval, ft fought its main opponent, the labour party, in the 1967 through a communal-based electoral campaign with a very daring and controversial statement "Malbar Nou Pas Oulé" which translates into "We do not want the Hindus". Following its electoral defeat in 1967, it nevertheless joined the Labour Party to form a unified government in 1971 and again in 1976. In 1982, it suffered, alongside with the Labour Party, a severe electoral defeat. From 1983 to 1990, it supported the MSM-led government. In 1991, it was in an alliance with the Labour Party again and their alliance lost again. In 2000, it came back as a minor partner in the MSM-MMM government with Maurice Allet as leader. Allet later agreed to step down as leader and make Xavier Luc Duval (son of Gaetan Duval) the new leader of the PMSD. Being a minor political party (having generally not more than 4 Mps) since 1983, it made an astonishing revival in the 2014 elections where it elected 11 Mps.
- Le Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) was formed in 1969 by Paul Berenger and is still led by him. Berenger is known as a very troublesome and rebellious personality who fought for the rights of workers to obtain fairer compensation & salary. A syndicalist, he was the leading politician of the 70s when he organized a series of strikes against political injustice and government domination. He also went to prison for organizing illegal gathering (which was again a political domination by Chacha Ramgoolam to maintain pressure on the population) from 1972 to 1973 just because he spoke in the public gathering. He became a very famous and adored politician with his ideas of a prosperous Mauritius with better equality, less communal discrimination, pure democracy and freedom of expression. He eventually led to the downfall of the Labour-PMSD coalition government in 1982 where it won (with an alliance with Harish Boodhoo's PSM) all parliamentary seats. Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was not even elected. The MMM won a second general election (after 1976, where it lacked overall majority and allowed the Labour Party to form the government with the PMSD) with a clear majority. Then party leader Anerood Jugnauth became prime minister. In 1983 following numerous disputes and tension between Jugnauth and Berenger, the MMM decided to leave the government. Jugnauth, alongside with the PSM and some members of the MMM who did not leave him formed a minority government. In august 1983, Jugnauth formed his own party (MSM) and won the further elections of 1983 and 1987. The MMM then formed an alliance with the MSM again in 1991 and with the Labour Party in 1995 (both times as a junior partner). In 2000 it formed a coalition government with the MSM as a rather equal partner. Berenger finally became Prime Minister in 2003 following Jugnauth's retirement. He then formed his own government from 2003 to 2005. The MMM later lost the 2005, 2010 and 2014 elections (3 general elections in a row).
- Le Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM) is the latest main political party formed in 1983. It was formed and led by the historical and aristocratic Sir Anerood Jugnauth. It was formed by Jugnauth and consisted of members of the defunct Parti Socialist Mauricien (PSM) led by Harish Boodhoo and dissident members of the MMM which did not agree with Berenger. The party which became the largest political force in the country just months after its creation still baffles many political observers. The MSM had been led by the Jugnauth political family of Mauritius. It is the only party which won three general elections in a row (1983, 1987 & 1991). It became famous after it initiated a series of governmental policies which restructured the country's wrecked economy left by the Labour Party-PMSD government in 1982 which worsened after the internal instability of the MMM-PSM government from 1982 to 1983. Due to Jugnauth's popularity and the party's good performance as government, it received support from all other parties from time to time. This included the Labour Party from 1983-1985, 1987-1990, the PMSD from 1983-1988 and the MMM from 1990 to 1993. The country experienced a major economic boom in the 80's due to the MSM policies and Jugnauth's style of management. The country moved from an underdeveloped to a developing economy during these years. Its main electorate is rural-based and therefore competes with the Labour Party for the major Hindu votes. Its electoral base is actually the MMM's rural electorate which dissented from the MMM in 1983. Due to being sister parties, the MSM and the MMM formed political alliance at various reprises (reuniting the big 'militant' family) in 1991, 1999, 2000 and from 2012 to 2014. In 2000, Jugnauth and the MSM made a historical deal with the MMM in which Jugnauth agreed to retire from politics and eventually resign as prime minister after serving 3 years (in a 5-year term) to allow Berenger to become Prime Minister for the lasting 2 years. The main reason for his retirement was for his son Pravind Jugnauth to enter politics and lead the MSM. Jugnauth. Jr later became Deputy Prime Minister. He still leads the MSM since 2003. Sir Anerood Jugnauth was elected to serve as President in 2003 and again in 2008. He stayed as President until major disagreements was experienced between him and the Labour-led government by Navin Ramgoolam on the Medpoint scandale case. He later resigned and joined back politics (putting an end to his retirement after 9 years). The MSM finally won the 2014 general elections with an alliance with smaller parties PMSD and Mouvement Liberater.
In the 1967 General Election, an alliance known as the Independence Party consisting of the Labour Party (Parti Travailliste — PTR), Independent Forward Blok (IFB) and Comité d'Action Musulman (CAM) won the election, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) became the first Prime Minister of Mauritius. The Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate (PMSD) became the opposition party.
In the 1976 General Election, the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) won most of the seats, however a coalition government was formed by the Independence Party (consisted of the Labour Party and Comité d'Action Musulman) and the PMSD. SSR remained in office. The MMM became the opposition party.
In the 1982 General Election, an alliance consisting of the MMM and the Parti Socialiste Mauricien (PSM) won the election, Sir Anerood Jugnauth (SAJ) became Prime Minister, Harish Boodhoo became Deputy Prime Minister and Paul Bérenger became Minister of Finance. The PMSD became the opposition party.
The alliance break up in 1983 and the 1983 General Election was held. A new alliance consisting of the PTR, the Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM) and the PMSD won the election, SAJ became Prime Minister again. The MMM became the opposition party.
In the 1991 General Election, an alliance consisting of the MMM and MSM was established again and won the election, SAJ remained Prime Minister. The new leader of the PTR Dr. Navin Ramgoolam, became the Leader of the Opposition. The PTR became the opposition party.
Republic of Mauritius
On 12 March 1992 Mauritius became a Republic State, with a new constitution in 1992, the terms of the General Elections was regulated to 5 years. Since then, each 5 years elections takes place and a new Prime Minister is elected.
In the 2000 General Election an alliance MMM-MSM was formed and won the election, the PTR became the opposition party. The alliance of the MMM-MSM made an agreement, SAJ resigned as Prime Minister after 3 years to allow the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Paul Bérenger to take over. Paul Bérenger became the first non-Hindu Prime Minister of Mauritius. SAJ was nominated as President of Mauritius by the National Assembly. The son of SAJ, Pravind Jugnauth was then elected as Deputy Prime Minister, SAJ also left the reins of the Mouvement Socialiste Militant to his son.
In the 2005 General Election an alliance known as Alliance Sociale was formed, it consisted of the PTR, the Parti Mauricien Xavier-Luc Duval (PMXD), Les Verts Fraternels, the Mouvement Républicain and Mouvement Militant Socialiste Mauricien (MMSM). Another alliance was the MMM-MSM which included the MMM, the MSM and the PMSD. The Alliance Sociale won the election and Dr. Navin Ramgoolam became Prime Minister of Mauritius.
|Parties and alliances||Votes||%||Seats||Additional seats||total seats|
|Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais (OPR)||10,184||0.8||2||2||4|
|Total (Turnout 81.5 %)||1,944,948||100.0||62||8||70|
|Source: Adam Carr|
For the 2010 General Election, two alliances were formed before the election, the Alliance de L'Avenir consisting of the PTR, the PMSD and the MSM. The other alliance was the Alliance du Coeur which consisted of the MMM, the Union Nationale and the Mouvement Mauricien Socialiste Démocrate (MMSD). The Alliance de L'Avenir won the election, Dr. Navin Ramgoolam remained the Prime Minister of Mauritius.
|Parties and alliances||Votes||%||Seats||Additional seats||Total seats|
|Alliance de L'Avenir (PTR-PMSD-MSM)||1,001,903||49.69||41||4||45|
|Alliance du Coeur (MMM-UN-MMSD)||847,095||42.01||18||2||20|
|Front Solidarité Mauricien (FSM)||51,161||2.54||1||—||1|
|Mouvement Rodriguais (MR)||20,933||1.04||2||—||2|
|Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais (OPR)||18,815||0.93||—||1||1|
|Total (Turnout ~78%)||2,016,427||100.00||62||7||69|
Against all odds, l'Alliance Lepep has won the 2014 elections, with 47 seats, against 13 for the Labour Party / MMM alliance. No one predicted that l'alliance Lepep would win these elections, leave alone winning over 75% of seats in the National Assembly.
The politician who stands out to lose the most from these elections is Paul Raymond Bérenger, whose dream to serve as Prime Minister now looks more and more remote. While he could have won easily had he remained in alliance with the MSM party, he chose the easy way, which was also to offer him the prime ministerial seat for a full term. He ended up losing on all fronts, and nearly even lost his seat. As usual, after getting defeated, Paul Bérenger made no comment to the press, as opposed to the other leaders.
Navin Ramgoolam, a seasoned politician who has served as Prime Minister for almost 15 years, did not even get elected this time. This is largely due to the anti-incumbency factor. Moreover, it is widely believed that the majority Hindu population of Mauritius, is not willing to make an exception by offering the Prime Minister seat to Paul Bérenger, who does not belong to the Hindu community. They feel that Mauritius should not be an exception where the head of the government does not belong to the majority community.
- Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p618 ISBN 0-19-829645-2
- "Mauritius". Worldsstatesmen.org. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- "Ethnic handover in Mauritius". BBC. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "Mauritius PM keeps it in family". BBC. Retrieved 27 December 2012.