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Lalit on Radio One for four-hour panel during vote-counting

24.12.2003

During the counting for the by-election for a new Member of the National Assembly in the constituency where the Prime Minister had resigned in order to become President of the Republic, Lindsey Collen, Lalit member, was on a 4-person panel to comment on the political situation as results started to come in.


Other panel members were the ex-Minister, Jean Claude de L'Estrac, academic and political commentator, Raj Mattur, and winner of the MMM land-slide victory in the by-election in 1970, Dev Virahsawmy. The panel was chaired by Finlay Salesse, himself an ex-Parliamentarian.


Lindsey Collen put emphasis on the importance that the election result, as it came in, meant that the Government would certainly not be able to use it in order to justify its economic policies. On the contrary. The Government's losing the seat, which it, itself vacated, showed that the electorate was criticizing the politics of privatization and neo-liberalism. Mr. De L'Estrac was afraid that the Government's losing, and feeling its unpopularity growing, would paralyze it and make it able to take the brave but necessary measures the economy demanded. Lindsey Collen said that if the Government continued to act in the way it had acted since its election three years ago, that is to say selling off beaches, ruining agricultural land, privatizing essential services, it would be better if it were indeed paralyzed.


Everyone on the panel except for Mr Raj Muttur, who surprisingly for an academic defended everything the Government is doing, thought that Vice Prime Minister Pravin Jugnauth had raised the stakes very high, and thus caused the defeat to be more important. In particular, Pravin Jugnauth had said that victory would show that people agreed with the economic policy of Government and would seal the so-called "Medpoint arrangement" by which Paul Berenger became Prime Minister half way through Aneerood Jugnauth's term. The resounding defeat of the government candidate, the panel members agreed, meant that Government could draw support from the by-election result neither for its economic policy nor for its previous "arrangement".