Navin Ramgoolam

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The Honourable
Navin Ramgoolam
Navin Ramgoolam 2014.png
Prime Minister of Mauritius
In office
5 July 2005 – 17 December 2014
President Anerood Jugnauth
Kailash Purryag
Preceded by Paul Bérenger
Succeeded by Anerood Jugnauth
In office
27 December 1995 – 11 September 2000
President Cassam Uteem
Preceded by Anerood Jugnauth
Succeeded by Anerood Jugnauth
Leader of the Opposition
In office
11 September 2000 – 4 July 2005
Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth
Paul Bérenger
Preceded by Anerood Jugnauth
Succeeded by Paul Bérenger
In office
15 September 1991 – 20 December 1995
Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth
Preceded by Prem Nababsing
Succeeded by Anerood Jugnauth
Personal details
Born Navinchandra Ramgoolam
(1947-07-14) 14 July 1947 (age 69)
Port Louis, Mauritius
Citizenship Mauritius
United Kingdom
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Veena Brizmohun (1979–present)
Parents Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
Sushil Ramjoorawon
Residence Riverwalk, Floreal
Alma mater National University of Ireland
London School of Economics
Inns of Court School of Law
Religion Hinduism

Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP (born 14 July 1947) is a former Prime Minister of Mauritius and leader of the Labour Party.[1] He was Leader of the Opposition from 1991 to 1995. He served as Prime Minister for the first time from December 1995 until September 2000, and became Leader of the Opposition again from October 2000 to 4 July 2005. On 5 July 2005, he became prime minister for a second term after his Alliance Sociale won the general elections. He served again as Prime Minister from 2005 to 2014, when he was defeated.

Early life and education[edit]

Navin Ramgoolam was born on 14 July 1947 to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam and his wife Lady Sushil Ramjoorawon. Navin Ramgoolam belongs to the Kurmi community.[2] He attended the Royal College Curepipe from 1960 to 1966 and proceeded to study medicine in Ireland between 1968 and 1975, where he obtained the LRCP&SI licentiates from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

When his father, the current Governor General and former Prime Minister, died in December 1985, Ramgoolam was on the point of immigrating to Canada when Sir Satcam Boolell (then leader of Labour Party) and Paul Berenger (the leader of the Mauritian Militant Movement) convinced him to return assume the leadership of the Labour party. He subsequently served as a medical doctor at Dr A.G Jeetoo Hospital in Mauritius from 1985 to 1987. In 1987, he started his law studies at The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. Upon completion of his LLB degree in 1990, he returned to Mauritius to face the electorate as the new leader of the Labour party in the 1991 general election.

1991 elections and first candidacy[edit]

The leadup to the general elections held in 1991 saw a realignment of the country's major political parties. The Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM), which had been the main opposition party, decided to contest the election as an ally of Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth's Militant Socialist Movement (MSM). Ramgoolam's Labour Party and Gaëtan Duval's Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate (PMSD), both of which had been allied with the MSM in the previous election, formed a separate alliance, along with the Rodrigues People's Organisation (OPR). A major campaign issue was the proposal of the MSM-MMM alliance to cut the country's ties with the British Monarchy and declare a republic with a President as head of state. Ramgoolam opposed this, arguing that the Presidential office would be too ceremonial, leaving all executive powers effectively in the hands of the Prime Minister.

The election turned out to be a landslide for Jugnauth. The MSM/MMM alliance won 57 of the 62 directly elected seats. Of the 5 seats won by Ramgoolam's alliance, 2 were held by the OPR and 3 by his own Labour Party (Arvin Boolell, Vasant Bunwaree and himself, being elected in constituency 5, Triolet & Pamplemoussess). Following his defeat, he took leave as Leader of the Opposition and returned to London to complete his law vocational course at Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to United Kingdom Bar, Inner Temple in 1993.

In 1993, Prime Minister Jugnauth asked the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare Ramgoolam's seat vacant as he had not attended Parliament for three consecutive momeths. The Speaker referred the case to the Court but the Judge found that it was unconstitutional.

Shortly afterwards, Jugnauth dismissed Bérenger from the Cabinet after leaning that Ramgoolam had hosted him at a private dinner at his Riverwalk residence. Bérenger and 10 MMM members joined Ramgoolam on the opposition benches. Although the MMM caucus was larger than the Labour Party caucus, he agreed to let Ramgoolam continue as Leader of the Opposition.

1995 elections[edit]

The Labour Party and the MMM went on to forge an alliance to contest the 1995 elections. The alliance won all 60 directly elected seats from the mainland (with Labour taking 35 seats and the MMM 25). Ramgoolam became Prime Minister with Bérenger as his Deputy. The coalition soon fractured, however, and Ramgoolam dismissed Bérenger in 1997. Bérenger then became Leader of the Opposition, while Ramgoolam formed a one-party government.

2000 elections[edit]

Jugnauth and Bérenger formed a new alliance to contest the 2000 elections. Part of the agreement was to allow Jugnauth to serve for the first three years of the five-year term, then resign to assume the Presidency and allow Bérenger to complete his unexpired term. Ramgoolam, for his part, formed an alliance with the Mauritian Party of Xavier-Luc Duval (PMXD), a breakaway from the PMSD led by Xavier-Luc Duval, the son of Sir Gaëtan Duval. The MSM/MMM alliance won 54 of the 60 directly elected mainland seats. Ramgoolam, who had retained his own seat, became Leader of the Opposition.

2005 elections[edit]

His Alliance Social won the general elections against the MSM/MMM outgoing government. He was again appointed as prime minister with a majority of 38 out of 60 seats. His alliance also won the local/municipal elections in 2006 where the MSM/MMM was severely defeated. These consecutive defeats and internal instability caused the break-up of the MSM/MMM coalition.

As the MSM had more seats than the MMM and Pravind Jugnauth was not elected, Nando Bodha was appointed as Leader of the Opposition.

2010 elections[edit]

With the 2010 elections approaching, Ramgoolam decided in 2008 to support Jugnauth for re-election as President, to forestall a possible return by Jugnauth to parliamentary politics, where Ramgoolam viewed him as a potential threat. Jugnauth's condition for accepting the offer was an alliance between the Labour Party and the MSM. At Ramgoolam's insistence, the Alliance de L'Avenir also included the PMSD, into which the PMXD, and its leader, Xavier-Luc Duval, had merged; seven of the sixty parliamentary candidates would come from the PMSD).

The Alliance de L'Avenir won 41 of the 60 directly elected seats. Ramgoolam remained Prime Minister and Pravind Jugnauth, son of Sir Anerood Jugnauth, became his Deputy. Following the involvement of some members of the MSM in the Medpoint Scandal, however, Ramgoolam dismissed the MSM from the government.

2014 elections[edit]

The general elections originally scheduled for 2015 were brought forward to December 2014. The Labour Party made a new alliance with the MMM, proposing a constitutional amendment to upgrade the Presidency to a less ceremonial role. Ramgoolam and Bérenger, the MMM leader, claimed that the election was a referendum on the proposal, which they called the Second Republic. If the alliance one more than 45 of the 60 directly elected mainland seats, the Constitution would be amended; Ramgoolam would run for the Presidency and Bérenger would succeed him as Prime Minister.

Ramgoolam and Berenger were opposed by the MSM-led Alliance Lepep, which also included the PMSD, which had been Ramgoolam's coalition partner, and a new party called Muvman Liberater, formed by a defector from the MMM. The Alliance Lepep, which opposed the proposal for the Second Republic, won 47 seats out of 60. The Labour-MMM alliance won only 13 seats, 9 from the MMM and 4 from the Labour Party. Ramgoolam lost his seat. On 12 December 2014, he resigned as Prime Minister of Mauritius.

2015 arrest[edit]

In February 2015, Ramgoolam was arrested at his residence at Port Louis. Police questioned him about a burglary which took place at his Roche Noires residence in 2011 and allegations that he had asked a businessman to make a false report of the break in to the local police station asserting he was not there at the time. Police are also investigating the alleged suicide in custody of a suspect in the burglary. The police pathologist has repeatedly said that the death was a suicide and Ramgoolam has denied any foul play, accusing his critics of trying to discredit him. On the same day, Police searched his house at Riverwalk and found Rs 220 Million, nearly half of it in foreign currencies. Some of the money was contained in envelopes or wrappers with good-will messages for the election and Ramgoolam has said that the monies represented election donations to his Party. No law prevents such donations in Mauritius. However, he was arrested on two charges, conspiracy to do a wrongful act and money laundering. He was held in custody and released on bail the following day. On 14 February, Ramgoolam announced that he was taking leave from the activities of the Labour Party to devote himself to his legal battle and defend his honour. He accused unnamed adversaries of spreading misinformation with the intention to put an end to the Labour Party. He designated Arvin Boolell as the new spokesman for the Labour Party.[3][4]

On 15 May 2015, he was arrested again on three charges and was granted bail after spending two nights in police detention.


Ramgoolam has received several accolades and honours. In 1998 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Dr Honoris Causa by the University of Mauritius, Dr Honoris Causa from Aligarh Muslim University, India and Dr Honoris Causa by the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India in October 2005. Other awards he attained are the Grand Officier de la Legion d’Honneur from France in March 2006, the Honorary Freeman of Rodrigues from Rodrigues Regional Assembly in March 2007, The Wilberforce Medal from Wilberforce Lecture Trust, Hull, United Kingdom in June 2007, The Rajiv Gandhi Award from Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, India in August 2007, The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from Government of the Republic of India in January 2008 as well as Grand Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GCSK) from the Government of the Republic of Mauritius in March 2008. In Paris, Ramgoolam received the Prix Louise Michel, awarded generally each year to a high personality in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution in the political field. He was made Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the Padmashree Dr D. Y. Patil University, Mumbai, India in February 2009, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) of the Royal College of Physicians, London in May 2009, Honorary Doctor by Staffordshire University, United Kingdom in July 2010, Order of the Rule of Law by the World Jurist Association, Bethesda, Maryland, USA in April 2011, Overseas Bencher by the Inner Temple, United Kingdom in April 2011 and Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by the Kurukshetra University, Haryana, India in February 2012.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Navin Ramgoolam is the son of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam who was the sixth Governor General of Mauritius, as well as the first Chief Minister and Prime Minister of Mauritius. His mother is Lady Sushil Ramgoolam (1922-1984). Navin is married to Veena Ramgoolam

See also[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Anerood Jugnauth
Prime Minister of Mauritius
Succeeded by
Anerood Jugnauth
Preceded by
Paul Bérenger
Prime Minister of Mauritius