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A first broad analysis of the 2005 general election result

07.07.2005

The election results were no big surprise for us: there has been a distinct swing towards the Labour Party "Social Alliance". The Berenger-Jugnauth MMM-MSM-PMSD alliance lost 9% compared to the last elections in the year 2000. The Labour Party "Social Alliance" gained 13%. This electoral swing is more noticeable in rural areas, but is also true of urban areas too. So this government is stronger in rural areas than in urban ones. In Port Louis, the Labour Party has managed to break the MMM's hold. The MMM only just managed to keep half of the 12 seats there. In Quatre Bornes, the "Social Alliance" got all three candidates elected.

So Navin Ramgoolam's Social Alliance got 49% compared to the MMM-MSM-PMSD, with only 43%. Given the first past the post system, this means that the "Social Alliance" has 38 seats and the MSM-MMM, 22 seats. In Rodrigues, the OPR won 2 seats. Without Rodrigues' support, the "Social Alliance" will not have a majority of 2/3's in the National Assembly.


PARTIES IN THE ALLIANCES
Within the "Social Alliance", the Labour Party has won 32 seats, the PMXD, 2 seats, the MMSM, 2 seats and the MSD of Baichoo, 2 seats. Les Verts and MR candidates were not elected. Sylvio Michel and Rama Valayden, leaders of Les Verts and MR respectively, were not elected in Berenger's fief in Rose-Hill, even though they managed to break the MMM's hegemony there.
The MMM won only 10 seats. This is a real defeat. The MSM won 11 seats, but the MSM leader, Pravind Jugnauth was not elected in Rose-Belle. The PMSD won only one seat.
This means that the "Social Alliance" now controls 13 constituencies (9 where it has total control with up to 67% of votes, and 4 where it has 2 out of 3 seats). The MMM-MSM controls 7 constituencies (4, where it has all 3 seats, and 3 where it has 2 out of 3 seats). All 4 constituencies that the MMM controls, are in urban areas. The MMM has been reduced to an "urban" party of Beau-Bassin, Rose-Hill, Curepipe. It seems as if Berenger, with the support of PMSD leader Maurice Allet, has finally replaced Gaetan Duval.


LALIT's PARTICIPATION
LALIT was 7th (after the "Social Alliance" and MMM-MSM-PMSD candidates) in 4 Upper Plaines Wilhems constituencies, just like in 2000. In 1987 general elections, there was a similar tendency. Our score varied quite a lot - between 0.7% and 3.6%. In general, we got less votes than in the last general elections. This is partly due to a more marked bi-polarisation, that differently from what was expected, was more pronounced than in the year 2000. At the time, 12% voters voted outside of the two alliances. This time, only 8% of voters voted outside of the two alliances. In some constituencies, communalist forces like the MDN Raj Dayal and the FSM of Cehl Meeah have gained ground, decreasing our votes in the elections. Partly, our decrease in votes is due to the total balck-out on LALIT by the commercial press. During the campaign, when the black-out was quasi-total, we filed a formal complaint at the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) against radio stations, and only then, after bi-lateral negotiations, was the "embargo" on LALIT lifted.


WOMEN
One good thing is the effect of women's mobilisation on electoral results. There were 16 women candidates in the two alliances. 7 came out first in their parties in their respective constituencies, 5 ranked second, and only 4 came out last. It is now an advantage to put up a woman candidate.


MINISTERS OVERTHROWN
Many ministers in government lost their seats. 10 in all, in fact: Kushiram, Soodhun, Leung Shing, Jeeha, Roopun, Fowdar, Koonjoo, Jugnauth, Gayan, and Obeegadoo. The only MMM-MSM Minister to have a positive record was Minister Obeegadoo who introduced educational reform, but this was not enough to get him elected.


BEST LOSERS NOMINATED
8 Best Losers have been nominated by the Electoral Supervisory Commission, just as the law provides for: 4 Labour Party candidates - David, Sinatambou, Sayed-Hossen, Chaumiere, 2 Rodrigues candidates of the MR, an MMM candidate, Perrier, and an MSM candidate, Soodhun. And now, Navin Ramgoolam will nominate his Ministers.


GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION
Both Ramgoolam and Berenger are adopting a conciliatory tone, and are leaving open the possibility of "working together". Even if Berenger sometimes seems to give out a coded message to his supporters in a dangerous way when he says "pa fer politik di pir" or "pa reazir dan enn fason kominal ("do not react in a commmunalist way").


LALIT's DEMANDS ON THE AGENDA
LALIT has succeeded to some extent, in putting two major items on the electoral agenda. Firstly, we have been persistent in putting the question of the economy on the agenda. When the election result was out, the first statement of Navin Ramgoolam, the new Prime Minister, was that there should be an "alternative agro-industrial economy" which is what LALIT campaigned for in the elections. Secondly, on the defense of universal rights within the Welfare State, Navin Ramgoolam stated that old-age pensions would become a right, without people being forced to "fill in forms".

LALIT has come out reinforced politically in terms of our members developing the ability to link immediate demands with in-depth change through the dynamics of transitional demands. For instance, our demand for the Government refusing to give out permits to close down sugar mills (which the law already provides for) unless sugar estates convert their mills into agro-industrial factories. The point here is that it is not possible for Capital to close down jobs just like that.
LALIT is also the first party to put up 44% women candidates.
We have also put up quite a number of young candidates too. And we are the only party with a big percentage of working class candidates.

Our public meeting were a success both in terms of audience and content. We now have new speakers who have gained considerable experience. And we have for the first time, organised a number of night meetings, that worked well.