The Electoral Battlefield

31 octobre 2023, 14:22


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In the latest Synthèses-l’express barometer, the MSM, Mauritius’ largest political party, believes its position has only strengthened following the Privy Council’s validation of leader Pravind Jugnauth’s election on November 7th, 2019. However, the survey was conducted before the judgment was made public. Similarly, the opposition alliance of PTr-MMM-PMSD feels confident about its good performance in both urban and rural regions.

However, the MSM is fully aware the Privy Council judgment should not be interpreted as a blank check for Jugnauth. While the council examined the technical aspects of the petition, it did not delve into the organization and culture of Mauritius’ election system, which warrants scrutiny.

As Jugnauth begins his fifth year in legislature, he has hinted at the possibility of a budget before the 2024-2025 elections, signaling his confidence in securing a third consecutive term.

Yet, the recent fuel price hike and inflationary pressures have confirmed that general elections are not imminent. The government seeks to ease the electorate’s financial burden before facing the polls.

Furthermore, Jugnauth has made promises to the elderly population, a crucial voting bloc, by pledging an increase in the old age pension to Rs 13,500. This is a calculated move to counter the opposition’s claims of having the upper hand in mobilization.

The question remains whether Jugnauth can maintain power, or if Navin Ramgoolam will lead the PTr-MMM-PMSD alliance to victory. The third, fourth, and fifth political forces in Mauritius appear fragmented and unlikely to unite against the two main parties. According to Synthèses-l’express barometer, the new parties are credited with only 4% of popularity while 68% of voters are looking for a new leader playing a new game.

Despite the political tumult, the Sun Trust is fully prepared to retain power, employing various strategies ranging from ministerial announcements to increased obedience of the MBC. The MSM aims to consolidate its base in constituencies 4-14 and make inroads in opposition strongholds.

Jugnauth’s recent ministerial reshuffle is a testament to his strategic acumen, as it reflects a broader plan to strengthen the Vaish caste’s hold on power. This is evident from the sidelining of Ivan Collendavelloo and his party in favor of the Ganoo-Obeegadoo duo, particularly Ganoo, who has a stronghold in constituency 14.

Ultimately, Jugnauth’s future and that of his dynasty hinge on his ability to navigate the complex political landscape of Mauritius and secure victory in the upcoming electoral battle.