Mauritian Militant Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mauritian Militant Movement
Mouvement Militant Mauricien
Leader Paul Berenger
Secretary-General Rajesh Bhagwan
Founder Paul Berenger
Deputy Leader Jaya Krishna Cuttaree
Founded September 1969
Headquarters Route Poudrière, Port Louis
Newspaper Le Militant
Youth wing Militant Youth
Ideology Democratic socialism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
Colours Purple
National Assembly of Mauritius
7 / 70
Party flag
Mouvement Militant Mauricien.png
Politics of Mauritius
Political parties

The Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) (English: Mauritian Militant Movement)[1] is a left-wing socialist political party in Mauritius. The party was formed by a group of students in the late 1960s.

It is the second largest single party in the National Assembly with 20 MPs and the second largest party in local government with 4 councillors. It is the main opposition party and is currently is a coalition opposition with the sister party Militant Socialist Movement as from May 1, 2012.[2]

Colloquially referred to as the Militant, the MMM emerged in 1969 out of the original Club des Etudiant, which dates to 1967. The group which was initially a club for University students after the major strike and riots which happened in France in which Paul Berenger was one of the initial leaders. When coming back from his studies, he decided to launch a group to fight for the rights of students for a better education and better equal opportunities for every student after the devastated country with a high level of famine and poverty in which the British Empire surrendered the authority to the Mauritian government, then composed of the Mauritian Labour Party, Independent Forward Block and the Muslim Action Committee.

Following a strike at the International Airport of Mauritius in 1968 following the arrival of an African country Leader in the country to show the youth resistance to their policies in which the government believed, the MMM became a famous group with young leaders including Deva Virahsawmy, Jooneed and Chafeekh Jeeroburkhan. The party was formed in 1969 after the popularity of the group gained an unexpected weight.

In 1970, during the by-elections of 1970 following the death of Lall Jugnauth (who was former Attorney General & member of the Independent Forward Block). Dev Virasawmy was elected as Member of Parliament to serve in the National Assembly. The party gained impact on society through their newspaper known as 'Le Militant'.

In 1976 elections, it won the largest number of seats. However, a last minute coalition between the Labour Party and Mauritian Social Democrat Party in the hung-parliament formed the government. In 1982, the MMM won all the seats in parliament with a total of 60 seats on 60 seats. They formed a government with the party's then President Anerood Jugnauth as prime minister and leader of the government. The first elected MMM prime minister is therefore Anerood Jugnauth.

Following a scission between Paul Berenger and Jugnauth in 1983, Jugnauth resigned as party president along with some of his supporters. They created the MMM's sister party, the Militant Socialist Movement, also known as the MSM. The MSM went on to become a dominant political party in the country.

The MSM managed to stay in power until 1995, winning all elections in 1983, 1987 & 1991. The MMM came back in power in 1995 in a coalition with the Labour Party. They resigned in 1997 and came back lastly in government in 2000. In 2005, then Prime Minister Paul Berenger lost the general elections with 42.6% of direct votes against 48.8% for the Alliance Sociale led by Navin Ramgoolam.

In 2010, the MMM brought 42.46% with Paul Berenger as leader and candidate to become Prime Minister. However, it lost to the alliance led by Navin Ramgoolam which obtained 49.31% of direct votes. Therefore, they form the main opposition party with Berenger as Leader of the Opposition.

Promoting socialism, the MMM principles are to advocate a fairer, more democratic Mauritian society, free from discrimination due to social class, race, community, caste, religion, gender or sexual orientation.[3]


The structure of the party lies on the branches. A branch consists of around 10 members minimum. Each branch is to delegate two representatives to the Regionale. The party consists of 20 Regionales; each relative to a constituency of Mauritius. In the past, there was one Regionale at Rodrigues also. Each Regionale is to elect a member to represent it in the Central Committee(CC). Other instances of the party are the Youth Wing and the Feminine Wing. The Youth Wing has two representatives a male and a female representing them in the CC. The CC further elects members to enter the Political Bureau (BP). The BP then elects its executives. The BP can also co-opt members in the CC and the BP. However, the main body still remains the assembly of delegates, which consists of members from branches that make up the party structure. The assembly of delegates can change all within the party on a voting system based on 50% + 1 by secret ballot.

Political Bureau[edit]

The Political Bureau was set up with the objective of enabling collective thinking within the party so that it will not be a one-man show or a party oriented towards a single father figure. The executive posts are distributed as follows [1]:

Leader Incumbency
Paul Berenger 1969–1976
Sir Anerood Jugnauth 1976–1983
Paul Berenger 1983–1987
Prem Nababsing 1987–1995
Paul Berenger 1995–2013
Alan Ganoo January 2013-October 2013
Paul Berenger October 2013 – present


Election Number of
overall seats won
Position Leader Position
34 / 70
1st Sir Anerood Jugnauth Leader of the Opposition
48 / 70
1st Sir Anerood Jugnauth Prime Minister
22 / 70
2nd Paul Berenger Leader of the Opposition
24 / 70
2nd Prem Nababsing Leader of the Opposition
26 / 70
2nd Prem Nababsing Deputy Prime Minister
25 / 70
2nd Paul Berenger Deputy Prime Minister
26 / 70
2nd Paul Berenger Deputy Prime Minister
10 / 70
3rd Paul Berenger Leader of the Opposition
20 / 70
2nd Paul Berenger Leader of the Opposition
12 / 69
2nd Paul Berenger Leader of the Opposition

Women's Wing[edit]

Since 1969, the MMM had for one of its prime considerations the welfare and the emancipation of women. It was thus, the first political movement in Mauritius to give importance to women in politics [2].

Beginning of the years 1970s when the principal leaders of the MMM were imprisoned, their spouses and female supporters mobilized with the objective of obtaining the release without condition of their husbands and friends. The Feminine Wing was officially created in 1974, with the objectives of favoring the participation of women in all spheres of the society and the introduction of true socialism.

The feminine commission is to ensure a constant representation of women in the CC and the BP, and to promote the ideologies of the MMM throughout the Mauritian nation; especially women. The MMM has as far as possible ensured a representation of women in elections as candidates. The unflinching proof of the consideration that the MMM has for women is the creation just after the general elections of 1982 of the 'Ministry of Woman' which was to ask as the organism taking into considerations the various problems and aspirations of women in Mauritius. The commission now consists of fourteen members, elected at the same time as that of the CC. Each month, representatives of the commission meet at the QG of the MMM at La Rue la Poudriere; Port Louis. The constitution of the MMM guarantees the representation of women in the CC to as least two women who are not deputies of the parliament. The actual executive committee consists of: President: Dany Perrier, Secretary: Sheila Babajee, Treasurer: Bernadette Chan and ten other executive members.

Youth Wing[edit]

The Youth Wing, officially Jeunesse Militante, formed in 1973, is opened to all youngsters aging 15 to 30 of Mauritian Nationality. Being a member is free of charge. A Youth Wing member can be affiliated to a branch, Regionale or joint the Youth Wing directly. Membership is free of cost.

The Youth Wing consists of 11 executive members elected by secret ballot elected by the 20 Regionales; each Regionale sending 3 representatives to elect the committee. The election is normally held on a yearly basis.



The MMM originated in 1968 as a students' movement (Mouvement Etudiants Mauricien) led by Paul Berenger, Dev Virahsawmy and the Jeeroburkhan brothers, Jooneed and Chafeekh, Sushil Kushiram, Tirat Ramkissoon, Krishen Mati, Ah-Ken Wong, Kriti Goburdhun, Allen Sew Kwan Kan, Vela Vengaroo, and Amedee Darga [4] amongst others. It was in 1969 that it became the Mouvement Militant Mauricien following the frustrating and disappointing coalition between the Mauritius Labour Government and the main opposition Party at the time, of Gaetan Duval's PMSD.

The party's first participation to an electoral poll in Mauritius was a winning one. A by-election in the Triolet/Pamplemousses constituency was organised in September 1971, following the death of MP Lall Jugnauth. The MMM fielded Dev Virahsawmy as candidate won the contest against the Ptr/PMSD/CAM coalition by more than 5000 votes. The PTr/PMSD/CAM government reacted to the rise of the MMM by voting the Public Order Bill: an anti-democratic bill imposing a state of emergency in order to ban activities organised by the MMM.

"Les annees de braise (1971–1982)"[edit]

In October 1971, Fareed Muttur, member of the MMM, died in a car accident near the Réduit round-about in obscure circumstances.[4] One month later, a plot against the leaders of the MMM at the Chasteauneuf street, Curepipe, lead to the death of another activist: a docker called Azor Adélaïde.

The MMM experienced its first schism in 1973, when Dev Virahsawmy left the party to found the MMMSP. The Youth Wing, Jeunesse Militante, is set up with Jean Claude Augustave, Gynaduth Hanzary, Kris Bhorra, Raffick Elahee and Amédée Darga amongst many animators. The government, fearing further electoral defeats, repelled general elections and voted for a ban of by-elections.

In 1976, the MMM won 34 of the 70 National Assembly seats, with Labour getting 28 and the PMSD, 8. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam contracted a political alliance with Sir Gaëtan Duval to stop the MMM from forming a government. The MMM formed a strong parliamentary opposition with Sir Anerood Jugnauth as Leader of the Opposition.

The MMM win the municipalities of Port Louis, Beau Bassin/Rose Hill and Vacoas/Phoenix. The first MMM mayors were K. Bhayat (Port Louis), J.C. de l'Estrac (Beau Bassin/Rose Hill) and D. Jhuboolall (Vacoas/Phoenix).

The 1982 60–0 Victory[edit]

Using "Enn nouvo simen pou enn nouno lavie" as the party slogan for the 1982 elections, the MMM won all of the 60 contestable seats, together with its partner, the PSM. An MMM-PSM-OPR government was constituted with Sir Anerood Jugnauth as prime minister and Paul Bérenger as Finance Minister. The latter came up with

The 1983 trauma[edit]

The 22 March 1983 saw the end of the MMM-PSM alliance. The MMM suffered a major schism, and Sir Anerood Jugnauth formed the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) with the dissidents. The MMM, under the leadership of Paul Bérenger, contested the August 1983 election alone. Despite the communal campaign against the MMM and its leader, the party grabbed 19 seats, with 46% of voters supporting the MMM.


The MMM remained in opposition from 1983 to 1990.

The 1990s[edit]

The MMM formed a winning alliance with the MSM in 1990, and notably helped changing the status of Mauritius from an Independent state to a Republic, with a President as Head of State. The MMM allied with Labourites in 1995, and won the general elections that year with a 60-0 landslide victory over the MSM and the PMSD. The MMM was expelled from the government in 1997.

The 2000s onwards[edit]

In 2000, the Party formed part of the second MSM/MMM alliance which won 54 out 60 seats in the Parliament. The leader Paul Berenger succeeded to Sir Anerood Jugnauth in 2003 after this one acted from 2000 to 2003. The alliance was led by Berenger from 2003 to 2006. In the 2005 general elections, Berenger led the Alliance with him as candidate for Prime Minister. They obtained only 22 out of the 70 seats. In 2010, the MMM formed the Alliance du Coeur with the Union National of Ashock Jugnauth and Social Democrat Mauritian Mouvement (MMSD) of Eric Guimbeau. The Alliance du Coeur won 18 out of 60 seats in the May 2010 General election. The Alliance du Coeur was further attributed 2 best loser seats. Following the elections, the Eric Guimbeau of the MMSD decided to sit as an independent MP, leaving the MMM with 19 seats in total.

Current MPs[edit]

The elected 7 MMM MPs are Paul Bérenger, Reza Uteem, Rajesh Bhagwan, Veda Baloomoody, Adil Ameer Meea, Zouberr Joomaye and Franco Quirin.


The MMM is a member of the Socialist International, an international grouping of socialist, social-democratic, and labour parties,[5] as well as the Progressive Alliance.[6]