Mauritius - Leadership

The landslide victory of the Jugnauth/Berenger alliance resulted largely from charges of corruption that befell the Ramgoolam government, combined with his less pleasing personal style, which alienated voters. Otherwise Mauritius was faced with no particular pressing issues at the time of the election. The nation's economy was solid, unemployment and inflation were low, and both sides had sworn to improve GDP. But the electorate had always liked Jugnauth, crediting him with the boom years enjoyed while he held office between 1982 and 1995. His reputation as a tough-minded pragmatist not interested in the perks of leadership has served him well over the decades.

A political deal forged just before the election with Jugnauth's coalition partner Paul Berenger was new and unique. Jugnauth would serve as prime minister for three years and Berenger would be deputy prime minister; then Berenger would assume the powerful prime minister's position and Jugnauth would become the president of Mauritius. To make this arrangement workable, president Cassim Uteem, who was appointed by the House of Assembly, had his term extended by one year. In the fall of 2002, Jugnauth confirmed that he would abide by the plan, and step down on September 30, 2003, despite the fact that opponents were campaigning to block Berenger from taking office.

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