Politics in Mauritius
Mauritius is known to be a model and also one of the oldest democratic republics in the African region. By being a democratic constitution, Mauritius allows for freedom of speech, freedom of religion as well as guarantees human rights. While the president of the republic holds power for the state, the prime minister is responsible of all government processes. Since its independence from British rule in 1968, Mauritius has made a lot of progress in its democratic constitution which led to it being declared a republic within the commonwealth countries in 1992 with Queen Elizabeth II stepping down and the coming in force of a state president.
The structure of the government is divided into the legislative branch which comprises the president, vice president and the speaker of the national assembly who have the last say in national matters and the executive branch which consists of the cabinet of ministers and other members of the parliament. While the national assembly (elected members representing the law making body) elects the president of the republic, the choice of the prime minister remains with the president. With the help of the prime minister, the president then elects the council of ministers.
Based on the constitution, seats in parliament are proportionately distributed among the main political parties leading to 60 seats to elected members of the constituencies, 8 best losers’ seats to non selected candidates according to their ethnicities resulting in 2 seats for Hindus, 2 seats for Muslims, 2 seats for Chinese and 2 seats for Creoles, and finally there are 2 additional seats for members from Rodrigues leading to a total of 70 seats of members. The legal framework of the island is based on the English law as well as the Napoleonic code. The power of judging the constitutional laws and legislations rests with the Supreme Court of Mauritius. Moreover, the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, the Public Services Commission, the Police Service Commission as well as the ombudsman (evaluate official misconduct) are important bodies of the national constitution.
Mauritius has a multi party system with each individual party having the island’s development and progress at heart. There are quite a fair number of coalition parties with the most famous and oldest ones being the Mauritian Labour Party, the Militant Movement of Mauritius (MMM), the Mauritian Social Democrat Party (PMSD). Many other independent parties can be found such as Front Solidarite National, MSM, L’union Mauricienne, Parti Malin, FSN, Parti Lalit etc.
Based on the British governmental system, elections are held every 5 years and it is the right of each and every individual as from 18 years of age to vote. The island is divided into 21 electoral constituencies and from there people can vote for the best candidate in the respective constituency to be in the national assembly where the rights of individuals and laws are discussed. However, even if Mauritius enjoys social peace with an amalgam of different ethnicities, voting is often based on an ethnic point of view such that specific groups often vote for people in the same ethnic group as them.
Lately, there has been more incentive for women to get involved in politics both by the government and women themselves because though women constitute almost 50% of the total population of the island, there are few women in politics. More and more women are however making a stand in that they are worth being in the national assembly and making decisions just as men are doing in the current political system. Also more youngsters are now getting interested in the politics of the island and getting more involved in the system.