Mauritius - Political parties

The Mauritius Labor Party (MLP), headed by Prime Minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, received support during 35 continuous years in office (1947–82) from the Hindu and Creole communities and some Muslims; often sharing power in those years was the Muslim Committee of Action (MCA). The Mauritian Social Democratic Party (Parti Mauricien Social-Démocratique—PMSD) has long represented the Franco-Mauritian and Creole landowning class.

A new political party, the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM), was formed in 1970. Its leaders were imprisoned in 1971 after the MMM called for a general strike to protest legislation banning strikes in industries controlled by MMM affiliates. The party leadership was later freed, and in the 1976 elections the MMM won more seats than the MLP, though not enough to achieve power. In the 1982 elections, the MMM captured 42 seats in parliament and joined the Mauritian Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste Mauricien—PSM) in a ruling coalition under Aneerood Jugnauth; unlike the MMM, which had strong Creole representation, the PSM was primarily Hindu.

Jugnauth's government fell apart in the early months of 1983, in the course of a power struggle within the MMM that led to the prime minister's expulsion from his own party. Jugnauth then formed the Mauritian Socialist Movement (Mouvement Socialiste Mauricien—MSM), which, in alliance with the MLP, captured 37 of 62 directly elected seats in the August balloting. The MMM won 19 seats, the PMSD 4, and a Rodrigues-based party, the Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais (OPR), 2. In August 1987 elections, the MSM, in alliance with the MLP and PMSD, won 39 of 62 directly elected seats; a three-party coalition including the MMM won 21 seats; and the OPR won 2 seats.

The legislative elections of 15 September 1991 resulted in the MSM/MMM alliance getting 59 seats (53% of the vote) and the MLP/PMSD alliance three seats (38%). By October 1993, however, the MMM had divided into two factions: one remained in the government and the other, headed by former Foreign Minister Paul Bérenger, took opposition seats in parliament.

Legislative elections held in December 1995 saw a newly solidified MMM/MLP coalition win 60 (35 for MLP and 25 for MMM) seats of the 62 elected seats. The Rodrigues Movement had two seats; two seats were given to the OPR; one to the Gaetan Duval Party; and one to Hizbullah. The MMM/MLP coalition fell apart in June 1997 with the firing of Bérenger from the vice-premiership, leaving MLP in power with small parties aligned with it.

Following the reconfiguration of an opposition alliance comprising Anerood Jugnauth's Militant Socialist Movement and Paul Bérenger's Mauritian Militant Movement, the coalition successfully swept the 11 September 2000 elections winning 52.3% of the vote, and holding the MLP/PMSD to 36.9%, and the OPR to 10.8%. The breakdown of seats was 54 for the MSM/MMM, six for the MLP/PMSD, and two for the OPR.

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