Tuesday, October 25, 2011

General election at the end of 2012 in Mauritius?


According to the latest analysis of experts from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the Scandal of the Century connected with the purchase of the MedPoint Clinic by the Mauritius Government at the cost of Rs144.7 million (originally quoted at 75 million rupees) and the prevalent political upheaval in the country could provoke a general election well before the end of the government’s present mandate. This is said to be contained in the Country Report of the EIU on the political situation in Mauritius.
The possibility of an early poll is being reinforced by the protest of alleged discontented MPs within the Labour Party who were not promoted during the recent Cabinet reshuffle while MP Mireille Martin who crossed the floor from the MSM has been made Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare.
Among the alleged dissatisfied MPs is the Private Parliamentary Secretary (PPS) Kalyanee Juggoo from the Long Mountain Constituency (No 4) who has been a member of the Mauritius Labour Party of long standing while Mireille Martin from the same constituency is but a new comer to Labour. However, in an interview to Le Défi Media Kalyanee Juggoo said she was not herself frustrated but she felt sorry for her constituents who voted Labour.
A snap election in Mauritius does not seem to be in the offing as, according to press report, PM Navin Ramgoolam is showing no concern about any political or social unrest in the country. He is, however, on shifting ground, as a realignment of the MMM with the MSM could reduce the influence of the Labour Party at an election held too soon. Outgoing MSM leader, Pravind Jugnauth, who left the coalition government and now sitting on the Opposition, has made it known that he will now endear himself to his old friend, the MMM and Opposition leader, Paul Bérenger.
On various occasions we have stated in this paper that the MMM holds the balance of power in many situations. In the 1990s when Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth wanted to remove Navin Ramgoolam as MP (because of his frequent absences from the Parliamentary sessions,) he needed, in accordance with the Constitution, two-thirds of the of the number of seats in the House to pass such a resolution. Bérenger’s MMM refused to bring its weight to such a move. Jugnauth, The Elder, could not rid himself of Ramgoolam. When Ramgoolam, during his first term of office as PM, wanted to remove Jugnauth from the Presidency of the Republic, he too needed the two-thirds constitutonal requirements. Again Bérenger’s MMM objected and failed to comply with the wishes of Ramgoolam. So, Sir Anerood Jugnauth remains President of the Republic to this day.
It is not impossible for the Labour Party on its own steam to win the majority of parliamentary seats at a forthcoming poll, but the Labour leader, Navin Ramgoolam, cannot afford to underestimate an alliance between the MMM and the MSM.
Everything is definitely not for the best on the Mauritius political scene, a very interesting development to follow!

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