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MAURITIUS ELECTIONS 2014 – WHAT NEXT?

MAURITIUS ELECTIONS 2014 – WHAT NEXT?

 

MAURITIUS ELECTIONS 2014 – WHAT NEXT?

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They are calling it a tsunami in Mauritius.This conjures up an image of the octogenarian SAJ riding in on the crest of a destructive wave – hardly an appropriate metaphor. The result WAS unpredictable, however.  On 6th October, shortly after the Mauritius Parliament was dissolved, the Daily Mail published an article, quoting Jocelyn Chan Low, who stated “The alliance of the two biggest groups, Labour and Berenger’s party, is likely to secure a big majority.”  This view was maintained by key news groups right up to election day itself. On 9 December the Bloomberg news site reported that the alliance of the ruling Labour Party and Mouvement Militant Mauricien “is expected to beat a coalition of the Mouvement Socialiste Militant and Parti Mauricien Social Democrate.”

Both the Daily Mail and the other news sources explained, that if the Labour/MMM coalition wins and the constitution is amended, ‘Ramgoolam , whose father led Mauritius to independence, is expected to seek the presidency. Berenger is expected to become prime minister.’

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The voters in Mauritius gave that idea a monumental  thumb down. But was that the key reason for the unexpected election result?

Jean Noel Moutou, writing for the Island Crisis blog on 3rd December offered interesting advice for anyone who took the trouble to read his article.  He called for ‘strategic voting’, defined as “putting aside personal preferences or sacrificing a lesser good for a higher good in order to achieve the desired end”.  The second important point made by Moutou concerned the recent sprouting of new political parties on the island. He wrote,

“It is clearly a good thing for Mauritius that many groups and newly formed parties are now present in the political arena. The new parties represent new blood, fresh ideas, and potential to bring innovative changes for restructuring our political system for the better. The political landscape of the last 46 years has served its purpose, Mauritius is ready to transition to a fresh and new understanding of power and politics that can radically transform our society for the better, and the new parties are in a good position to herald in this ‘renouvellement.’ … The emphasis however, needs to be placed on ‘transition’. This will not happen overnight, clearly not in this upcoming election. Rather, the next 5 years will be fertile ground for new parties to groom themselves to be real alternatives to the then outgoing 2019 government.”

Reading between the lines of Moutou’s article, the advice seems to have been – vote Jugnauth in this election,  simply to pave the way for the time needed to transition to a better system of politics, run by new parties with a radical agenda.

The voters of Mauritius went one better. They eliminated some of the dinosaur dynasties of the island’s political class overnight. This may only be temporary, but several candidates with surnames that have helped to guarantee their success as much as, if not more than their personal qualities, could not even manage third place in their respective constituencies. Ramgoolam himself, of course, was the biggest scalp of the night. Does it mean that the Mauritian electorate has given dynastic politics a well-deserved and long overdue boot up the backside? One would like to hope that is the case.

Over the next few years, Mauritian democracy will surely benefit greatly if the new parties are crowd funded and/or launch successful membership drives to enable them to identify electable candidates and develop programmes. What might Mauritius achieve if individuals and groups like Rezistans ek Alternatif, Sheila Bunwaree’s Parti Justice Sociale and Roshni Mooneeram’s Ensam Nu Kapav, were given a chance to influence policy-making and share power?!

œ©MauritiusMag

 

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4 Responses to “MAURITIUS ELECTIONS 2014 – WHAT NEXT?”

  1. Percy YIP TONG says:

    Hi,

    Your article is interesting. The small parties unfortunately do not unite their forces…a pity. This is why I took part as an Independant candidate and the only one in Mauritius that came out just after the 2 big politicai blocks and in front of all small parties.
    Here’s a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G3_wtV_5jA&feature=youtu.be
    And an interview by express.mu https://soundcloud.com/lslradio/entretien-avec-percy-yip-tong
    Enjoy
    Percy

    • admin says:

      Hi Percy,
      thanks for your comments on the above article. I checked out the links you gave, and we’ll be sure to mention you in our next article dealing with politics. You are an inspiration; all the best. ‘Pa Vot Blok, Vot Dimoun’ is a great slogan to take forward for the future……
      Chris

  2. Richard Munisamy In addition to Island Crisis, another campaign was launched a few days before the election which encouraged tactical voting against Ramgoolam with the phrase “All politicians are evil, but some are more evil than others” and a link to an article that explained in detail the author’s opinions on NCR’s misdemeanours.

    http://www.facebook.com/WeLuvMu/posts/826067390765175

    The idea that new parties will transform politics is hopeful but entirely unrealistic. No new parties, apart from breakaway ones, have made any headway in the UK parliamentary system since the foundation of the Labour party in 1900. The parliamentary system favours entrenched parties and encourages tactical voting as we have just seen in Mauritius.

    A far more interesting experiment is to use social media to exert popular influence over the incumbent government. With a large enough following, a community can bend the government to its will. In this case, which political party reigns is irrelevant since it becomes merely the executor of the will of the people, knowing that if it fails, it will be replaced in the next general elections.

    The degree of influence of such a community depends on its magnitude, which in turn is determined by how relevant its policies are to its members. If they don’t agree, they can leave at the click of a button. The experiment that is currently being conducted by “We Love Mauritius” seeks to influence government with an agenda of a broad-based sustainability.

    The success of this experiment will depend on how effective its “authors” are at recognising and entraining public opinion, and responsive to feedback when they miss the mark. Another important objective is to attract the support of the intellectual elite,, both inside and outside Mauritius who can contribute ideas and strategies to achieve the agenda. Consider this an invitation Christian Cuniah et al…

    • admin says:

      Dear Richard,
      Thanks for your comments on Mauritius Mag article. WeLuvMu is a fantastic initiative; myself and MMag colleagues are obviously supportive of this innovation and we’ll be happy to collaborate and provide links to what you are doing. We in diaspora are disenfranchised, so I hope that is an issue that your group in Mauritius will take up. New social media are playing a great role in Mauritius and there has surely never been a better opportunity for new parties and leaders to emerge with the backing of groups such as yours. Let’s work together to help those with the courage to break the mold …..
      Chris

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