Electoral Reform

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Only certain politicians can work themselves into a renzy about electoral reform. Promises for the publication of a white paper on electoral reform are not kept and what is really happening is that the Prime Minister is on the lookout for an opportunity to sit down with the unofficial leader of the Opposition to ‘coz coze’ with a view to undoing the Remake.

Time is on the side of the Prime Minister because he is aware that the ‘coz coze’ between a former Prime Minister and the current one is what the former relishes. They publicly take pride in belonging to a select club but they exclude another former Prime Minister from the ‘coz coze’. The MMM wants a reform that will accommodate a measure of Proportional Representation (PR) whereas the Labour Party would like to embark on a major electoral reform entailing a new form of Republic with a directly elected President who would then appoint a Prime Minister.

When the existing Constitution was drafted during the Constitutional talks, it was made to measure for the then Prime Minister, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. This is why no Prime Minister after him who tasted the wide range of virtually unlimited power has done anything to upset it. To believe that the current Prime Minister would be prepared to hand over the power that he wields alone is preposterous. What he can and will do is to bring in reform which will consolidate his grip on power so that his position remains unchallenged except during an election.

The thinking goes that with Ramgoolam as President, Bérenger will accept to be his Prime Minister. After all, this is the ambition of Bérenger, i.e to be Prime Minister anew. He became Prime Minister with all powers thanks to the word that Sir Aneerood Jugnauth had given him in 2000 that there would be a sharing of the post of Prime Minister. Whether Berenger wants to become a Prime Minister with his powers clipped to suit the supremacy of the current Prime Minister is what all the talk of electoral reform is about.

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