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Mauritius Modern History

By the independence of the British in 1968, Mauritius already had a functioning multi-party system dominated by a couple of strong personalities that would affect the country as far back as the 2000s. The independent Mauritius has also been characterized by old contradictions between a predominantly Indomauritic political upper class and a broad Creole public.

After World War II, the British began to abolish their colonial rule and in 1947 introduced the right to vote for literary experts. Mauritius Workers' Party (MLP), led by Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, strengthened its position, while several new parties were formed. In 1957 Mauritius gained internal autonomy. The Creole population felt that its position was threatened by the Hindu-dominated MLP, which triggered bloody riots in 1965.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER: List of most commonly used acronyms containing Mauritius. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.

The Labor Party won in the elections that preceded independence on March 12, 1968. Prime Minister Ramgoolam became the leader of a coalition government. During the 1970s, the Labor Party ruled with various bourgeois parties. Its policy became increasingly conservative.

The opposition came mainly from the socialist Mauritanian militant movement (MMM) which received strong support among young people. After a general strike in 1971, an emergency permit was introduced and several of MMM's leaders were imprisoned. The party became the largest party in 1976 in the first election after independence, but the Labor Party remained in power through a new government coalition.

Contemporary History of MauritiusIncreased ethnic tensions

After the 1982 parliamentary elections, the MMM, together with the Mauritius Socialist Party (PSM), formed a government led by Anerood Jugnauth, but it only survived for a year. Jugnauth broke with MMM and formed a new party, Mauritius Socialist Movement (MSM). After the new election in 1983, MSM formed government together with MLP, among others.

Mauritius was ruled by changing coalitions during the 1980s and 1990s, with MSM, MMM and MLP cooperating with each other, competing for power. In 1995, MLP and MMM formed a government, which however cracked down in 1997. MLP continued to rule alone.

When a popular Creole musician, Joseph (Kaya) Topize, died in a police raid in 1999, the most serious rattles of 30 years were triggered. The riots were mainly thought to have been caused by the dissatisfaction of the Creole population not to have been able to take advantage of the increased wealth.

Crisis in the sugar industry

The new election in September 2000 became a clear victory for an alliance between MSM and MMM. The two parties had concluded a deal that MSM leader Anerood Jugnauth would be prime minister until the fall of 2003, when he would be replaced by MMM leader Paul Bérenger.

At the same time, Jugnauth was to be appointed the country's president. During his first three years, Bérenger was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, but he replaced Jugnauth as Prime Minister when he became President in September 2003.

In 2005, the country's economy deteriorated. Unemployment and inflation rose. The sugar industry faced problems when the EU changed the previously favorable terms of trade (see Economy. This, in combination with many corruption scandals, led to a change of power. MLP won the parliamentary elections in July of that year together with several small parties within the so-called Social Alliance. reforms, including the labor market liberalized and a new fixed income and corporate tax introduced, not only criticized by the opposition, but also internally within the MLP.

In September 2008, Jugnauth was re-elected president. In the May 2010 parliamentary elections, MLP's newly formed coalition, the Future Alliance, won. Both the MSM and the Mauritius Social Democratic Party (PMSD) were part of the alliance. Successful economic policy during the last term was considered to have contributed to the election victory (see Finance).

MLP's Ramgoolam was allowed to continue as Prime Minister, while President Pravind Jugnauth of MSM became Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The coalition government continued to push through tough economic reforms, with sharply reduced state involvement in the economy.

The MMM, which together with the National Union (UN) and the Socialist Democratic Movement (MSD) had formed before the election the Heart alliance, now formed the opposition.

corruption Scandal

The new government was quickly drawn into a corruption scandal. The Ministry of Health was accused of having bought a private health clinic by Finance Minister Jugnauth's brother-in-law at an inflated price and without public procurement. The clinic would be expanded and developed into a new national hospital for elderly care. According to the opposition, the deal was part of the coalition deal between Prime Minister Ramgoolam and MSM leader Jugnauth ahead of the 2010 election.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission launched an investigation which in July 2011 led to the arrest of Health Minister Santi Bai Hanoomanjee. In protest of the treatment of Hanoomanjee, the MSM left the government.

In March 2012, MSM formed a new alliance with MMM. Prime Minister Ramgoolam then accused President Jugnauth of interfering with the government's work. Following pressure, Jugnauth left the presidential post in March of that year to re-engage with party politics and lead the new alliance between MSM and MMM. New President became National Assembly Speaker Rajkeswur Purryag from MLP.

 
 

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