At a Press Conference held at the LALIT headquarters in Grand River North West, the LALIT leadership announced the full list of candidates for the coming General Elections. There will be 28 candidates fielded, that is to say one in each Constituency in Mauritius, and three in each of four Constituencies, two rural and and two urban. LALIT is the party with the highest proportion of women, candidates 43% and of manual workers, 46%. The age span of candidates is from 23 years to 76 years. Next week, there will be the drawing of lots by all our members so that they can determine what to fill in on the Nomination Paper, given that the communal Best Loser System is still in place, and that the exercise will continue after these elections, and that even the exception made for the 2014 elections is temporary.
Rajni Lallah, for LALIT, explained how on 2 October LALIT was the first and is still the sole party, to present our political program. It is a 64-page document (available on this site in the section on “Programs and Manifestos”; see Home Page). We are also using video as a method of popularizing programmatic and other points, on both DVD and Youtube. LALIT is also distributing leaflets and pasting up posters, designed and executed in beauty. We announced at our last press conference that we would have one candidate in each constituency, and three in certain Constituencies: we have, of course, done just as we said all along that we would, Rajni Lallah said. This last barbed comment was for the various parties that said they were fielding 60, then it became 20, and in some cases far less.
Rajni Lallah said that since our last Press Conference, when we were the very first to denounce the “toxic bundle” of electoral reform linked fatally to a semi-Presidential system, the danger of this toxic bundle has become evident to most people. Labour and MMM know this, and no longer talk about their plan.
Problems like employment and economic issues have, she said, come to the surface now, and this is a good thing. There is what we can only call “complete bancruptcy” on the question of political economics. The two “fat-cat” alliances have identical politics on the economy. Since 2000, we in LALIT have, however, been warning of the avoidable effects of this crisis. Thousands of jobs were at the time being suppressed in cane and in textiles, and we called for massive conversion of land use so as to create employment and so as, at the same time, to assure food security.
Alain Ah-Vee, the second LALIT speaker, said he knows the Press is interested to know the names of our candidates. He said what is important is that our candidates are those very people who are our activists at the grassroots, and who are standing up to be counted on the basis of our program for socialism. Our candidates also give an idea of the programs we have been involved in the past – active in opposing the new biometric ID card system; fighting for the use of the mother tongue in schools and in Parliament; working for women’s emancipations; mobilizing for the decolonization of Diego and for military base closure; the right to housing; working for the elimination of the communal aspects of the electoral system; support for the struggle of the people of Palestine. In our electoral campaign, he said, we call for a support for our on-going action. In every single constituency, electors have the choice now – and in Four constituencies we will have 3 candidates. In Numbers 1, 8, 11 and 20. It is natural that there are many women, because LALIT’s program is in favour of women’s emancipation, and for women to have a vital role in the struggle to change society, that there are 43% women candidates. We have many manual workers who are members. Again, this makes it normal that 46% of our candidates are manual workers. All our candidates are LALIT members and supporting members.
No 1: Roland Boussac, also union activist.
Lindsey Collen, also women’s activist.
Sarah-Jane Naraina, works as bus conductor.
No. 2: George Herchenroder, driver, active unionist amongst municipal workers union.
No. 3: Anne-Marie Joly, educator of special needs children, in MLF.
No. 4: Sergio Monple, lives in Ste Croix, social worker, union activist.
No 5: Kisna Kistnasamy, Pamlemousses-Triolet: softwear technician. Volunteer in Palestine.
No 6: Elvis Franko Onno, gardener, neighbourhood activist.
No 7: Alain Ah-Vee, active in LPT, volunteer in Palestine.
No 8: Roland Fozoo, construction worker, founder of JUSTICE.
Rada Kistnasamy, computer technician.
Alain Moorgen, construction.
No. 9: Shradand Leeldharry, sarpantye, strike leader.
No 10: Seetressen Murday, former Village Councillor, electrician.
No. 11: Sonia Dick, 23 years old, ID card campaign.
Pushpa Lallah, founder of the Playgroup movement.
Guilliona Sabine, mother of 3, was candidate for LALIT
No 12: Marie-Anne Corinne Philippe, worked in many free zone factories, now cleaner.
No 13: Cindy Clelie, sociology teacher, MLF member.
No 14: Laval Yves, lives in Cite Richelieu, Central Committee member, mason.
No 15: Martine Mavisa, mother of 7 children, member of Playgroup and PTA.
No. 16: Jean-Marie Carolin: Catering worker, active in ID card.
No. 17: Rajni Lallah, central committee member, pianist, in MLF.
No. 18: Ram Seebogin, Bambous, doctor, BHP, Central Committee
No 19: Christian Battour, driver, skilled shoe-maker.
No 20: Ricardo Duronne, cabinet maker, black belt in judo.
Shabeela Kalla, Central Committee, active in MLF.
Amad Tallybally, store worker, social worker.
Then Rajni Lallah added that our list of candidates is very different from the PT-MMM list, supposedly representing “modernity”. 11 women out of 60, is their idea of “modernity”?
Our campaign, she said, is based on a vote for a program, for us to be in the Opposition, that is to say to continue in extra-parliamentary opposition, but also to get a voice in Parliament. We are already in opposition to politics of Government at grassroots level. We have seen years (since 2009) of ongoing collusion between Guvernment and Opposition, so now it is time to vote LALIT as a genuine opposition. We are the only party with a different program.
Quoting a few examples, she said, the “Opposition” on the question of the new biometric ID cards said in Parliament that they had “no quarrel” with them. It was only when LALIT built up a campaign that first the MSM, then the MMM took a stand against. On women’s emancipation, it is the same story. Only LALIT works for the emancipation of women year in year out. And it is this that produces our 43% women candidates. It is not something engineered, but simply reflects the true picture of our party in its on-going work.
Similarly, our battle for a proper electoral reform, that is to say for more democracy, is what sets us apart from the other parties with petty issues that suit their parties.
Our candidates stand on the basis of our program. The Press, Rajni Lallah said, will have notices that we present our program first and only later do we present our candidates. And we present them all at once.
She concluded with an announcement: For all elections from 1983, we in LALIT, she said, have always had an action against the communal Best Loser System, which despite all the confusion that reigns, is still firmly in place. It is still here. After elections, there will still be the exercise of dividing people and dividing elected members by community. The only difference, and it is temporary, that is to say for this election only, there is an option to not choose one of the four communities to fill in on your candidature form.
So, it only stands to reason that because the Best Loser System is still in place, we will, as usual, all draw lots for our community. We will have information to fill in on the basis of chance, just as we were born by chance. This time, there will be five “possibilities”, one leaving the space blank. This exercise of drawing of lots will be done next Thursday, 20 November in front of the Press. All our candidates will be present. Youare all, Rajni Lallah said, invited. It was this action, she explained, that lead to the Seetulsing judgment with his famous call for electoral reform to replace the BLS. So, you are all invited next week, she said.
In answer to a question, the emancipation of women, according to LALIT, is not a struggle to replace women formen within the existing pyramid structure. We do not want women to rise in patriarchal structure. So, it is not just “gender equity”, but for a democratization of society that involves women and men being not just more equal but in a more equal society. We are against patriarchy. You can read about this in detail, she said, in our program from page 32 onwards.
The Press conference ended with Ram Seegobin giving an idea of how we will do our drawing of lots next week in front of the Press. He showed the five blocks of wood with different possibilities that the Constitution gives, and one that will be blank. “We will elaborate more next week,” he said.