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Politics of Mauritius

Government Mauritian politics are vibrant and characterized by coalition and alliance building. All parties are centrist and reflect a national consensus that supports democratic politics and a relatively open economy with a strong private sector.

Alone or in coalition, the Mauritian Labor Party (MLP) ruled from 1947 through 1982 and returned to power in 1995. The Mauritian Militant Movement[?]/Mauritian Socialist Party[?] (MMM/PSM) alliance won the 1982 election. In 1983, defectors from the MMM joined with the PSM to form the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) and won a working majority. In July 1990, the MSM realigned with the MMM and in September 1991 national elections won 59 of the 62 directly elected seats in parliament. In December 1995, the MLP returned to power, this time in coalition with the MMM. Labor's Navinchandra Ramgoolam, son of the country's first prime minister, became prime minister himself. Ramgoolam dismissed his MMM coalition partners in mid-1997, leaving Labor in power save for several small parties allied with it.

Mauritius became a republic on March 12, 1992. The most immediate result was that a Mauritian-born president became head of state, replacing Queen Elizabeth II. Under the amended constitution, political power remained with parliament. The Council of Ministers (cabinet), responsible for the direction and control of the government, consists of the prime minister (head of government), the leader of the majority party in the legislature, and about 20 ministries.

The unicameral National Assembly has up to 70 deputies. Sixty-two are elected by universal suffrage, and as many as eight "best losers" are chosen from the runners-up by the Electoral Supervisory Commission using a formula designed to give at least minimal representation to all ethnic communities and under-represented parties. Elections are scheduled at least every 5 years.

Mauritian law is an amalgam of French and British legal traditions. The Supreme Court--a chief justice and five other judges--is the highest judicial authority. There is an additional right of appeal to the Queen's Privy Council. Local government has nine administrative divisions, with municipal and town councils in urban areas and district and village councils in rural areas. The island of Rodrigues forms the country's 10th administrative division.

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius
conventional short form: Mauritius

Data code: MP

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Port Louis

Administrative divisions: 9 districts and 3 dependencies*; Agalega Islands*, Black River, Cargados Carajos Shoals*, Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaines Wilhems, Port Louis, Riviere du Rempart, Rodrigues*, Savanne

Independence: 12 March 1968 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 March (1968)

Constitution: 12 March 1968; amended 12 March 1992

Legal system: based on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Cassam UTEEM (since 1 July 1992) and Vice President Angidi Verriah CHETTIAR (since 28 June 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM (since 27 December 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held 28 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president and are responsible to the National Assembly
election results: Cassam UTEEM reelected president and Angidi Verriah CHETTIAR elected vice president; percent of vote by the National Assembly - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (66 seats - 62 elected by popular vote, 4 appointed by the election commission from the losing political parties to give representation to various ethnic minorities; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 20 December 1995 (next to be held by December 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party - MLP/MMM 65%, MSM/MMR 20%, other 15%; seats by party - MLP 35, MMM 25, allies of MLP and MMM on Rodrigues Island 2; appointed were Rodrigues Movement 2, PMSD 1, Hizbullah 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Hizbullah [Cehl Mohamed FAKEEMEEAH]; Mauritian Labor Party or MLP [Navinchandra RAMGOOLAM] - governing party; Mauritian Militant Movement or MMM [Paul BERENGER]; Mauritian Militant Renaissance or MMR [Dr. Paramhansa NABABSING]; Mauritian Social Democrat Party or PMSD [Xavier-Luc DUVAL]; Militant Socialist Movement or MSM [Sir Anerood JUGNAUTH]; Organization of the People of Rodrigues or OPR [Louis Serge CLAIR]; Rodrigues Movement [Nicholas Von MALLY]

Political pressure groups and leaders: various labor unions

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Flag description: four equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, yellow, and green

See also : Mauritius



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