Mauritius: A two party system at a lossNovember 25, 2014
As is the case in many ‘democracies’, the people are losing faith in long existing political parties, to the point that new factions are making headway as we have seen in England and the EU recently. Mauritius is not immune to these changing times, where democracies are facing a crisis of confidence and the people are losing interest in party politics. <!—more–>
Nevertheless, in Mauritius, the communal factor may just be the major decider in an election that many are seeing as a game changer in the country’s democratic future.
“This election is about Hindu power, not about the usual. The constitutional changes proposed by the Berenger and accepted by Navin, is seen as an attempt to weaken the Hindu majority,” said an observer to Wfol.tv.
He said if the Hindus – who forms 50% of the electorate – feels they will lose their political power to the minorities, then they will vote massively for the MSM-PMSD-ML alliance of the people (Alliance Le Pep).
The democratic slump was seen, most recently in the United States, where less than 50% of the electorate went to choose a new senate and congress. Not too long ago, the number one democracy in the world saw the rise of the ‘Tea parties’, which eroded the voter base of both the Republicans and the Democrats.
Today, the Tea parties are the most influential political warlords in America, and the country is heading where these warlords want it to go.
In Indonesia, a different trend has surfaced in the past ten years, with the electorate tired of parties not delivering on their promises. They are now backing the most popular figures in the country, without putting too much interest in the fate of the political parties they represent.
“This personality cult, which is not new in Indonesia but is at its height these days, is the answer to the party infighting, party hopping and lackluster performances by the parties,” said Indonesian political analyst Muhd Isa Selamat to Wfol.tv.
He said he foresees this trend to continue in Indonesia for another decade, until and unless the political organisations – including the Partai Democratik Indonesia – Perjuangan (PDIP) of which he is a member – presents a stronger image to the public.
Mauritius, where the people will head to the polls on Dec 10, the political landscape is primarily bi-polarized with two factions claiming they will win the majority and rule the country.
The December polls are probably one of the biggest tests of democracy in Mauritius, with the Labour-MMM coalition in power struggling to pin its pet project of a new “Republic of Mauritius”, while the MSM-PMSD-ML is facing the uphill battle of cohesiveness to the voters.
Recent polls in local newspapers indicate the Labour-MMM will win by a slim margin over the MSM-PMSD-ML, which does not augur well for the ruling coalition since its leaders PM Navin Ramgoolam and former opposition leader Paul Berenger expected a landslide victory.
However, the announcement of the alliance between the Labour and the MMM opposition party, did not go down well with a majority of the online netizens in Mauritius. The offer to change the constitution, replacing it with a so called modern concept based on the French republic, has probably caused much confusion among the voters.
To carry out the changes, the Labour-MMM need to win three quarters of the seats in the current parliament of 70 MP’s. The bold stance by Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, former Prime Minister in the 1982-1995 era, rallying an alliance of the weaker parties has stunned the ruling coalition.
The campaign by the MSM-PMSD-ML has gained traction since the early November rally that saw both coalitions at almost the same strength, but the Hindu majority seemingly turning away from the Labour-MMM alliance.