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ELECTIONS XII: Electoral Reform

01.11.2014

Here is a brief outline from our Program for General Elections on Electoral Reform. This is a translation into English of the original Kreol version. The 62-page Program, in A4 format, is available from LALIT. Just give a ring and come round. 208 5551.

For the right for everyone to stand as candidate to become an MP:
- Remove the existing language (English and French only) barrier and literacy barrier for candidates and Members of the National Assembly; this will democratize Parliament.
- Remove the denial of the right to stand as candidate or to be actively involved in politics from the work contracts of all civil servants, University of Mauritius staff, and para-statal employees. This too will democratize Parliament.
- Strike out as illegal conditions any work contract in the private sector that prohibits employees from taking part in politics or standing candidate for elections; this too will democratize Parliament.

For the right to vote for workers from abroad:
LALIT calls for the right for all workers after 3 months residence; the thousands of foreign workers live by Mauritian labour laws and they pay VAT just as Mauritians do. This demand is vital, as more and more Mauritians work abroad and should get the right to vote there, and as more workers from Bangladesh, India, Madagascar and China come and work here, they should naturally get the right to vote here. The principle is: where you work, and where you pay taxes, you vote.

So that those elected are accountable, the right of recall at all levels:
- Electors in any constituency must be able to “recall” or “revoke” their MPs by a formal electoral petition between two elections. After submitting a draft petition to the Speaker, who will check that it is on bona fide grounds and not frivolous or communal, for example, then a campaign to gather votes on the basis of signatures next to names and electoral numbers. Similarly, any Minister or the Prime Minister, must be recallable by such a petition in his constituency in the same way.
- MPs must have the right to revoke any Minister or the Prime Minister, at any time that they have an argument that he is not fulfilling his role.
The right of recall is much more democratic than the limitation by decree of multiple mandates.

Increase the power of MPs (the Legislature), decrease the power of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet (the Executive)
- 4 MPs for each constituency in Island of Mauritius, 3 in Rodrigues and 1 in Chagos (84 MPs) plus 20 named from amongst the candidates in the Constituencies (order determined beforehand by party leader)
- Decrease the number of Ministers, not more than 15
- Just as Parliament is elected by voters, just as the Speaker is elected by Parliament, so the Prime Minister must be elected immediately after general elections, at the first sitting of Parliament
- When the Prime Minister chooses his Cabinet, he must present the list and get it approved by Parliament.


Replace the communal Best Loser System
The fact that there are 4 candidates in each constituency gives Parties more room to make wise choices about candidates, in general. This change, plus 20 Proportional seats, taken together, makes the best loser redundant.

So that women are represented:
Half women candidates in Constituencies and alternating lists will ensure fair representation.

To decolonize Parliament:
The introduction in Parliament of Kreol as joint medium with English. French and Bhojpuri must be able to be used as well.