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The Speaker must be Replaced

05.08.2021

LALIT calls on the Leader of the House, Pravind Jugnauth, to propose a replacement Speaker to preside the elected National Assembly. He should at once call a Special Session of Parliament to do so.


Speaker Soorooj Phokeer has shown that he does not have the capacity to chair a meeting, let alone sittings of the Assembly of the highest instance of our democracy.


He has been a disgrace as a Speaker. He is biassed, and biassed without shame. He is unable to modulate his voice, nor more importantly, to maintain any rational level of debate in the Assembly. Now he has, from the Chair, yelled insults at MP Rajesh Bhagwan, insults referring to the skin disease Mr. Bhagwan suffers from. This is beyond unacceptable. He must go.


LALIT proposes that, when the Constitution is amended, the future Speaker be elected from amongst MPs, and that he be revokable by a motion presented by any Member of the Assembly. To make the Speaker more fair, there needs to be a system of a short-list prepared with two or three concensus candidates between the two biggest parties (or alliances), and then a free vote. A Speaker should, in the best of worlds, be someone who defends the integrity of Parliament from the abuses of the executive. Phokeer seems to have never understood this.


It is time to amend the Constitution to make all MPs, including future Speakers and Ministers, including the Prime Minister, revokable by a formal electoral petition. One form of this kind of right to recall is already a reality in the UK Parliament.


This is the only way to redeem the only democratic institution in the country at national level. Instead of making the National Assembly stronger, larger, more democratic, and curtailing the vast powers of the executive, in particular of the Prime Minister, what we are seeing is an erosion of the status of the National Assembly, and a drift towards autocracy.  See our website for LALIT’s Electoral Reform proposals.


Meanwhile, Soorooj Phokeer must be replaced.