No clear lead as Mauritius heads to the ballot box

Saturday November 02 2019

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth. He succeeded his father Sir Anerood Jugnauth as prime minister in January 2017. PHOTO | SAMUEL MIRINGU | NMG


woMauritians go to the polls on November 7 to elect parliamentary representatives in a contest where no outright winner is expected to emerge.

A coalition government is the likely outcome between two leading parties the Labour Party led by former Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and Mauritian Social Democratic Party of the Xavier-Luc-Duval-led.

They are expected to join forces to challenge the ruling Alliance Lepep coalition.

Since 1991, no political party has obtained a second term in office or won a majority to form a government in one of Africa’s most progressive countries.
Voters elect representatives to the 70-member assembly under a unique system where a voter elects three candidates from each of the country’s 21 constituencies, including two for the offshore island of Rodrigues.

Those who lead in national tallies from the bloc vote fill the first 62 seats, with eight others appointed by the electoral commission from the list of “best losers” to balance community and political party interests in the assembly.

The allocation of the best-loser seats to each of the four ethnic groups—Hindu, Muslim, Sino-Mauritian, and the General Population (African Creoles and Franco-Mauritians)—is determined using the d’Hondt system.


The d’Hondt quota for each group is calculated by dividing its 1972 population by the number of seats already won plus one.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth succeeded his father Sir Anerood Jugnauth as prime minister in January 2017.

Sir Anerood was leader of the Alliance Lepep coalition and the longest-serving prime minister since Mauritius gained independence from Britain in 1968. Mr Jugnauth, on the other hand, leads the Militant Socialist Movement party.

The Indian Ocean archipelago has a population of about 1.3 million and became a republic in 1992.

Vice-President Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory took over the presidency in March 2018, following the resignation of President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

Africa's only female head of state at the time was accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars intended for scholarships for poor students on clothes and jewellery. She denies wrongdoing and says she has repaid all the cash.

Once dependent on sugar exports, the island has built a strong outsourcing and financial services sector, as well as an important tourism industry, and now boasts one of Africa's highest per capita incomes.

Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, in a dispute with Britain that saw hundreds of islanders deported to make way for a US military base on the island of Diego Garcia in the 1960s.