Southern African News Features                                           SANF 10 No 19, May 2010
Ramgoolam re-elected in Mauritius elections

Mauritian Prime Minister Navichandra Ramgoolam has been re-elected for another five years after his coalition won the 5 May parliamentary elections with two-thirds majority.

The Alliance of the Future, which comprises the Mauritius Labour Party, Mauritian Social Democratic Party and the Mauritian Socialist Movement, won 41 of the 62 direct seats in the house of assembly.

The main opposition coalition, the Alliance of the Heart led by former Prime Minister Paul Bérenger secured 18 seats.

The alliance of the Heart is made up of the Mauritian Militant Movement, National Union and the Mauritian Social Democratic Movement.

The Rodrigues Movement got two seats while the other remaining seat was secured by the Mauritian Solidarity Front.

Mauritius has a 70-seat unicameral assembly. A total of 62 members of parliament are elected by direct popular vote in a block system where each voter gets to cast three ballots for three candidates from each of the 21 constituencies, including the island of Rodrigues, off the south-east coast of Mauritius, which elects two deputies.

The remaining eight candidates are drawn from a list of "best losers" to ensure a fair representation of various communities of the country.

Speaking soon after the announcement of results by the Electoral Supervisory Commission, Ramgoolam said attention should now focus on the economy and national building.

"The results of the poll are clear. Since 1991 no government has obtained a second term after an election," he said, adding that all people, including parties that took part in the polls must respect the results as in a "democracy we have winners and losers."

Opposition alliance leader, Bérenger has conceded defeat, saying he will play his part in nation building.

More than 729,000 people registered to take part in the polls. Mauritius has a population of about 1.3 million. As many as 65 alliances and political parties as well as independents took part in the election.

Of the 529 candidates, only 21 were women - with 10 being elected. At the last elections held five years ago, 13 women won direct seats in the parliament.

Regional and international election observers have applauded the way the island nation held its elections, saying the polls were in conformity with regional standards and principles.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Election Observer Mission (SEOM) said the elections were conducted in compliance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

"The pre-election phase was characterised by a peaceful and tolerant political atmosphere," head of the 52-member SEOM delegation, Henrique Banze said.

"SEOM was encouraged by the enthusiasm of voters, who were able to express their franchise peacefully, freely and unhindered. It is therefore, SEOM’s overall view that the polling phase was conducted in an open and peaceful manner."

Banze, who is the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Mozambique, urged all political parties and candidates to respect the will of the people.

He said democracy and political stability in the country would be beneficial not only to the SADC region, but also to the whole African continent.

Banze said a detailed report on the electoral process in Mauritius would be released within thirty days after the announcement of the results.

The SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) also hailed the elections, saying the political environment was generally calm and peaceful as demonstrated by unimpeded political rallies and a high degree of tolerance among political party supporters.

Prime Minister Ramgoolam is expected to announce his cabinet once Members of Parliament take their oath of office.

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SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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