The other Zoli Mamzel

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Aadil Ameer Meea has been the first to say what surely must be on everyone else’s mind within his party. Meeting with party agents over the weekend, Meea said that he was opposed to the MMM going it alone in the elections and that in the next election, it’s out of the question for the MMM to stand alone without an alliance.  In this sense, the MMM is making the same discovery that the PMSD did in December 2017. And both for largely the same reasons.

Surfing on a wave of personal popularity at the time, in 2016, Xavier Duval and the PMSD broke away from the government citing Duval’s opposition to the prosecution commission bill. Duval at a stroke became the leader of the opposition, dislodging Paul Bérenger from that post and stated that he would be the next prime minister. The idea was that with the Labour Party and the MMM weakened significantly and the MSM accumulating one scandal after another, the PMSD’s time had finally come. That hope was dashed in the by-election in December 2017 and Duval had to admit that the PMSD could not hope to stand outside an alliance in an election. Similarly, in the recent elections, the MMM too hoped that with Labour and the MSM at one another’s throats, the innate weakness of the MMM could be hidden by the fact that one of these two parties would come begging for a post-electoral alliance. That did not happen. And now within the MMM too, the writing is clearly on the wall: it’s too weak and needs alliances to survive. The mistake that both the PMSD and the MMM made was expecting that they could count on the weaknesses of other parties, rather than the strength of their own.

That point finally being driven home should come as no surprise. The MMM is a party in an inexorable decline that cannot be denied or batted away in a fit of hubris or nostalgia. It has not won an election since 2005. The last time it stood alone in 1976, it got nearly 40 per cent of the vote; in 2019, it got just 16 per cent. In 2010, it got 19 seats. In 2014, it got 12 seats, and that was seen as a disaster. But the blame fell on Navin Ramgoolam and the public’s opposition to the second republic. Well, it 2019, the party got an even worse score, just 9 seats. Who to blame this time? The MMM before the election boasted that it could win in towns and the countryside, but out of its nine seats, five are from just two constituencies, Rose Hill and Beau Bassin, while another is a best loser seat. And the party leader has not even come out of the election as the leader of the opposition.  

Just as the PMSD discovered before it, the MMM too is just a Zoli Mamzel now that’s desperate for a suitable match. All other illusions have finally been shattered.


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