Parliament is finally set to resume on Tuesday 24 October after 97 days of rest. Since the last session, more than three months ago, a lot has changed on the political scene ranging from the resignation of a minister to the campaigning in Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes. Here are the things that you need to keep an eye on ahead of the next parliamentary session:
The scandal involving Ravi Yerrigadoo, former attorney general, is arguably the biggest event since the last time MPs made their way to the National Assembly. Yerrigadoo, previously the only unelected MP, has made way for Maneesh Gobin to act as attorney general. As a result, there is no chief whip at the moment, with Gobin’s deputy during the previous parliamentary sessions currently embroiled in a controversy of his own.
Speaking of the deputy chief whip, Ravi Rutnah shocked the whole island last month when he branded a journalist as a “bitch”. He was widely condemned the following day by the public, media outlets and even politicians, including members of the government. He was forced to apologise live on a private radio after receiving criticism from Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth. Rutnah also had to leave the Parliamentary Gender Caucus as a result.
Charges against Soodhun
Showkutally Soodhun, vice prime minister and minister of housing and lands, hogged the headlines back in July following the death threat he made against Xavier-Luc Duval, leader of the opposition. Earlier this month, the director of public prosecutions recommended criminal proceedings against Soodhun. However, the latter has managed to retain his ministerial position so far.
The Tarolah controversy
Kalyan Tarolah was caught in a sexting scandal that caused the ire of his fellow MPs due to its occurrence on the National Assembly premises. There have been calls for him to step down as a parliamentary private secretary from members of the opposition and some members of the ruling coalition. He could face a motion of no confidence as early as 24 October when parliament resumes.
Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes by-election
The opposition sought to offer a more united front against the government since the beginning of the year. However, the by-election in Belle Rose-Quatre Bornes has shifted that whole dynamic. With the opposition parties likely to fight among themselves for the seat Roshi Bhadain previously held, their parliamentary collaboration might already be a thing of the past. Speaking of the opposition, Kavi Ramano will remain the only independent MP with Danielle Selvon now a member of the Mouvement Militant Mauricien.
The Commission of Inquiry on Drugs
There was mystery man who spoke to the Commission of Inquiry on Drugs during the week. The identity of the man has not been revealed yet with unconfirmed reports suggesting he might have implicated at least one member of parliament. It also remains to be seen whether prominent government ally, Raouf Gulbul, will be summoned by the commission. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth is also expected to make his way to the commission following allegations by notorious drug dealer Peroomal Veeren.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth has been criticised for the way he has handled the scandals that have plagued his government. However, even his allies now seem to be asking questions of his leadership capabilities. On a private radio this week, Minister Anil Gayan claimed that he would probably have asked Kalyan Tarolah to step down as parliamentary private secretary if he were prime minister.