The Mauritius Parliament has been dissolved and Mauritians will be called to the polls on 10th December to elect a new government. But these elections will serve also as a referendum; the people will be asked if they are in favour of declaring a second republic and replacing the current Prime Ministerial functions with a powerful Presidency.
In Mauritius, the Prime Minister is the most powerful person, the President is just a ceremonial figure. Outgoing Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam's ambition is to become a President with full powers "just like in Africa". To succeed, he needs a three-quarter majority in the next Parliament to be able to amend the Constitution. He hopes to get it at the next elections.
According to the plan, Navin Ramgoolam's Labour Party and Paul Berenger's Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) alliance will work together to detail additional powers and responsibilities to the President and create a balance of power between the President and the Prime Minister.
Both will be elected by universal suffrage. The Prime Minister will be appointed by the President. Among the new powers projected for the President will be one that allows him or her to dissolve the National Assembly. The Prime Minister would be expected to take into consideration any recommendations from the President on the appointment or dismissal of a Minister.
The President will be responsible for the foreign policy of Mauritius and represent Mauritius in international and other meetings. The President and the Vice-President of the Republic would be elected for a period of seven years through direct popular universal suffrage on the basis of a single-round election.
Associate professor at the University of Mascareignes...