66. Mauritius (1968-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (March 12, 1968-December 15, 1971):  Mauritius formally achieved its independence from Britain as the Commonwealth of Mauritius on March 12, 1968.  Sir John Shaw Rennie was appointed as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius, and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan of the Mauritian Labour Party (MLP) was appointed as prime minister.  Sir Michel Rivalland was appointed as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius on August 27, 1968.  Sir Arthur Leonard Williams was appointed as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius on September 3, 1968.  The Mauritian Militant Movement (Mouvement Militant Mauricien – MMM) was formally established by Paul Bérenger on November 7, 1969.  The Legislative Assembly amended the constitution to postponed the parliamentary elections and to enlarge the cabinet.

Crisis Phase (December 16, 1971-May 1, 1976):  The Mauritian Militant Movement (Mouvement Militant Mauricien – MMM) and the General Workers Federation (GWF) initiated a general strike, and Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolan declared a state of emergency on December 16, 1971.  The Legislative Assembly voted 48-10-5 in favor of the Public Order Act of 1971, which restricted political party and union activities, on December 22, 1971.  Paul Bérenger and other members of the MMM were arrested and imprisoned on December 23, 1971.  Paul Bérenger was released from prison in December  1972.  Governor-General Arthur Leonard Williams died on December 27, 1972, and he was succeeded by Sir Raman Osman.  Students clashed with government police in Port Louis on May 20, 1975.  The state of emergency was lifted on May 1, 1976.

Post-Crisis Phase (May 2, 1976-present):  The governor-general dissolved the Legislative Assembly on October 21, 1976, and lifted the ban on political meetings on November 25, 1976.  Parliamentary elections were held on December 20, 1976, and the Mauritian Militant Movement (Mouvement Militant Mauricien – MMM) won 34 out of 70 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The Independence Party (IP), which was an alliance of the Mauritian Labour Party (MLP) and the Muslim Action Committee (MAC), won 28 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  Seewoosagur Ramgoolan of the MLP formed a coalition government with the Mauritian Social Democratic Party (Parti Mauricien Social Democrate – PMSD) on December 28, 1976.  Sir Henry Garrioch was appointed as Acting Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius on October 31, 1977.  Dayendranath Burrenchobay was appointed as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius on April 26, 1978.  Paul Bérenger’s MMM formed an alliance with Harish Boodhoo’s Mauritian Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste Mauricien – PSM) on January 23, 1981.  Parliamentary elections were held on June 11, 1982, and the MMM-PSM alliance won 60 out of 66 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The National Alliance Party (NAP), including the MPL and MAC, won two seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The Militant Socialist Movement (Mouvement Socialiste Militant – MSM) was established by Sir Anerood Jugnauth on April 8, 1983.  Parliamentary elections were held on August 21, 1983, and the MSM-MLP-PMSD alliance won 46 out of 70 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  Seewoosagur Ramgoolan was appointed as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius on December 28, 1983.  Governor-General Seewoosagur Ramgoolan died on December 15, 1985, and he was suceeded by Sir Cassam Moollan.  Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo was appointed as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Mauritius on January 17, 1986.  Parliamentary elections were held on August 30, 1987, and the MSM-MLP-PMSD alliance won 44 out of 70 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  Parliamentary elections were held on September 15, 1991, and the MMM-MSM alliance won 57 out of 66 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The MLP-PMSD alliance won nine seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The constitution was amended to change Mauritius to a republic within the British Commonwealth in December 1991.  On March 12, 1992, the Republic of Mauritius was proclaimed with Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo as Interim President.  Cassam Uteem of the MMM was elected President by the National Assembly on June 30, 1992.  Parliamentary elections were held on December 20, 1995, and the MMM-MLP alliance won 60 out of 66 seats in the National Assembly.  Navin Ramgoolam of the MLP was sworn in as prime minister on December 27, 1995.  On February 18, 1999, Joseph Reginald Topize (Kaya), a reggae musician, was arrested for smoking marijuana at a concert that took place on February 16, 1999.  Joseph Reginald Topize (Kaya) was found dead in his jail cell on February 21, 1999.  Four individuals, including another reggae musician Agathe, were killed during three days of riots following the death of Joseph Reginald Topize (Kaya).  Seven individuals were killed in riots in Port Louis following a soccer game between a Creole team and a Muslim team on May 23, 1999.  President Cassam Uteem dissolved the National Assembly following the resignations of two government ministers accused of corruption on August 7, 2000.  Parliamentary elections were held on September 11, 2000, and the MMM-MSM alliance won 58 out of 70 seats in the National Assembly.  The MLP-led alliance won eight seats in the National Assembly.  The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) sent ten observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.  Anerood Jugnauth of the MMM-MSM alliance was sworn in as prime minister on September 17, 2000.  On February 15, 2002, President Cassam Uteem resigned after refusing to sign an anti-terrorism bill approved by the National Assembly earlier in the week.  Three days later, interim President Angidi Chettiar resigned after also refusing to sign the controversial anti-terrorism bill.  Interim President, Supreme Court Chief Justice Arianga Pillay, signed the anti-terrorism bill into law on February 19, 2002.  Karl Auguste Offmann of the MSM was elected President by the National Assembly on February 25, 2002.  Paul Bérenger of the MMM was sworn in as prime minister on September 30, 2003.  Sir Anerood Jugnauth of the MSM was elected President by the National Assembly on October 7, 2003.  Parliamentary elections were held on July 3, 2005, and the MLP-led alliance won 42 out of 70 seats in the National Assembly.  The MMM-MSM alliance won 24 seats in the National Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent eleven observers and three staff members to monitor the parliamentary elections from June 26 to July 6, 2005.  The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent 17 observers from seven countries (Angola, Denmark, DRC, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) to monitor the parliamentary elections from June 29 to July 4, 2005.  Prime Minister Paul Bérenger resigned, and Navin Ramgoolam of the MLP was sworn in as prime minister on July 5, 2005.  Parliamentary elections were held on May 5, 2010, and the MLP-PMSD-MSM alliance won 45 out of 69 seats in the National Assembly.  The MMM-led alliance won 20 seats in the National Assembly.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 52 observers from nine countries led by Henrique Banze of Mozambique to monitor the parliamentary elections from April 25 to May 6, 2010.  The SADC Parliamentary Forum sent 32 observers from nine countries led by Joao Manuel Goncalves Laurenco of Angola to monitor the parliamentary elections from April 29 to May 6, 2010.  The SADC Electoral Commissions Forum (ECF) sent 20 observers from eleven countries led by Joyce Laetitia Kazembe of Zimbabwe to monitor the parliamentary elections from April 27 to May 7, 2010.  Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam was sworn in for a second term on May 5, 2010.  Kailash Purryag of the MLP was elected President by the National Assembly on July 21, 2012.  Parliamentary elections were held on December 10, 2014, and the MSM-led alliance won 51 out of 69 seats in the National Assembly.  The MMM-led alliance won 16 seats in the National Assembly.  Sir Anerood Jugnauth of the MSM was appointed as prime minister on December 14, 2014.  The African Union (AU) sent 30 observers from 19 countries led by former Prime Minister Aminata Toure of Senegal to monitor the parliamentary elections from December 6 to December 12, 2014.  The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) sent observers led by Mary Catherine Nkosi of Malawi to monitor the parliamentary elections from December 3 to December 15, 2014.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 82 observers from ten countries led by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa to monitor the parliamentary elections.

[Sources: African Union (AU) press releases and statements, December 3, 2014, December 6, 2014:  British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), February 23, 1999, February 24, 1999, February 25, 1999, August 10, 2000, September 12, 2000, September 17, 2000, February 15, 2002, February 18, 2002, February 19, 2002, September 30, 2003, July 5, 2005, May 5, 2010; New York Times (NYT), December 28, 1972; Reuters, November 7, 2014, December 10, 2014, December 11, 2014; Southern African Development Community (SADC) statement, December 11, 2014.]

 

Selected Bibliography

de Smith, S. A. 1968. “Mauritius: Constitutionalism in a Plural Society,” The Modern Law Review, vol. 31 (6), pp. 601-622.

Houbert, Jean. 1981. “Mauritius: Independence and Dependence,” The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 19 (1), pp. 75-105.

Miles, William F. S. 1999. “The Creole Malaise in Mauritius,” African Affairs, vol. 98 (no. 391), pp. 211-228.

Srebrnik, Henry. 2002. “Full of Sound and Fury: Three Decades of Parliamentary Politics in Mauritius,” Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 28 (2), pp. 277-289.