By Baleshwar Agarwal
Dr Naveen Ramgoolam, leader of the Sociale Alliance has been invited by Sir Aneerodh Jugnauth, President of the Republic of Mauritius to constitute the new government. This follows after Mr Paul Raymond Berenger, former Prime Minister resigned following his party'sdefeat in the elections.
The elections held on July 3 had 80 per cent voters? participation. The total electorate was 8,17,000 and the number of candidates contesting the elections of registered parties and independents was 645. The counting was completed on July 4 and subsequently the results were declared by the Election Commission. The Alliance Sociale led by Dr Naveen Ramgoolam secured 38 seats from 20 constituencies and the alliance MSM-MMM secured 22 seats. Two seats in the Rodrigues Islands were won by the local party, the OPR. Dr Naveen Ramgoolam was the Prime Minister of Mauritius till the year 2000.
The election results did not surprise the political observers. The Labour Party candidate had defeated the ruling alliance candidate in the bye-elections held early last year from the constituceny vacated by Sir Aneerodh Jugnauth when he became the President of the Republic of Mauritius. Several ministers resigned from the ruling alliance a few months earlier and joined the opposition.
Shri Parvin Jugnauth, Deputy Prime Minister, alongwith Shri Anil Gayan and several other ministers were defeated in the election.
Relations between India and Mauritius have been very cordial ever since Mauritius became independent in 1968. Dr Seewoosagar Ramgoolam, the first Prime Minister established a strong foundation for Indo-Mauritius cooperation from the very beginning and he continued to rule till 1982. Sir Aneerodh Jugnauth, who succeeded him as the Prime Minister, further strengthened the relations. Dr Navin Ramgoolam was the third Prime Minster of Mauritius who further nurtured it. His becoming Prime Minster again will further consolidate the relations between the two countries.
It may be recalled that Mauritius has waived the visa formalities for Indian citizens. The visa is granted on arrival at the airport.
Mauritius has 70 per cent population of Indian origin, mostly the third and fourth generation of the indentured labour taken there by the British after the abolition of slavery in 1834.
General Elections 2005 in Mauritius
Mauritius became independent on March 12, 1968. Ever since Independence, it had elections for the Parliament (National Assembly) in December 1976, June 1982, August 1983, August 1987, September 1991, December 1995 and September 2000.
The General Elections in Mauritius took place on July 3, 2005 and the results were announced the following day. The National Assembly (Parliament) is constituted of 62 elected seats and is based on first-past-the-post system. The General Elections this time had been contested by 634 candidates drawn from 71 registered political parties and independent candidates without a party but associated with a symbol printed on the ballot paper.
Sixty seats are for the 20 constituencies of mainland Mauritius and two for the island of Rodrigues. Each of the 20 constituencies in Mauritius is a three-member constituency, that is, it elects three Members of Parliament. The island of Rodrigues as a single constituency is a two-member constituency returning two Members of Parliament.
The coalition government had 56 seats in this previous National Assembly with the Labour Party holding eight. The ruling alliance lost one seat in the bye-election held in early 2004 while the Labour Party was successful in annexing the seat.
Dr Seewoosagar Ramgoolam, the first Prime Minister established a strong foundation for Indo-Mauritius cooperation from the very beginning and he continued to rule till 1982. Sir Aneerodh Jugnauth, who succeeded him as the Prime Minister, further strengthened the relations. Dr Navin Ramgoolam was the third Prime Minster of Mauritius who further nurtured it.
In the island of Rodrigues the two seats were contested by two candidates from each of the three local political parties, namely, OPR, FPPR and MR. The elected candidates have always automatically integrated into the government.
The maximum number of candidates were 46 in constituency number 9 Flacq/Bon Accucil and minimum number of candidates on the mainland were 13 in constituency number 19 Stanley Rose-Hill.
Mauritius is a sovereign democratic State, with a President as the head of the State and its electoral system is, as mentioned above, based on first-past-the-post. There were 8,17,305 eligible voters registered in the electoral list for the 2005 General Elections. As many as 793,449 were from the mainland Mauritius and 23,856 voters from the island of Rodrigues. Elections were held on a single day.
The Constitution of Mauritius sets out the management structure for the organisation and also the conduct of elections. It also provides for the delimitation of constituencies and the review thereof every 10 years, whenever the need arises.
The general atmosphere during the electoral campaign across the country was reported to be very calm and cordial. The law and order situation prevailing in the country was peaceful and the police authorities had taken the necessary steps with a view to ensuring free and fair elections and preventing any untoward incidence of violence. Sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks in public was not allowed for 48 hours before the election day. Political public meetings, demonstrations and marches were strictly prohibited 24-hours prior to the election day, also on the election day and until the final results were announced by the various returning officers. Political agents and activists were not allowed to operate at the polling stations on the election day. They came and had their tents pegged 200 metres away from the polling stations. All the political parties, their agents and activists complied with such a dispensation.