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Prime Minister outlines Government’s proposed amendments to Electoral System

Date: September 24, 2018
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GIS – 24 September, 2018: The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, outlined Government’s proposed amendments to the Electoral System during a press conference held on Friday 21 September 2018 at the New Treasury Building in Port Louis.
The proposed amendments comprise the introduction of a dose of Proportional Representation (PR) in the National Assembly; the allocation of additional seats – Best Loser Seats (BLS) – to do away with the mandatory declaration of community; the guarantee of better women representation; and anti-defection measures (in the case of PR and additional seats).
Prime Minister Jugnauth recalled that the objectives of the amendments are to provide a more equitable representation of parties in the National Assembly, while ensuring stability and governability; to do away with the mandatory declaration of community; and to ensure that the majority arising from the First Past the Post (FPTP) system remains the same after the allocation of PR and additional seats.
The aim is to guarantee a better representation of women in the National Assembly by providing for a gender neutral formula of at least one third of the total number of candidates of the same sex for each party or party alliance, both for the FPTP election and the PR list; and providing for anti-defection measures.
First Past the Post System (63 seats)
The FPTP system will be maintained, whereas each constituency of Mauritius will return three members. The constituency of Rodrigues will also return three members to the National Assembly instead of two. With the increase of the number of elected Members of Parliament for Rodrigues from two to three, the gender quota of one third will be guaranteed, as each party or party alliance in Rodrigues will have to ensure that its three candidates are not all of the same sex.
Proportional Representation System (12 seats)
Twelve PR seats will be allocated by the parallel mode and the “highest remainder” formula, based on the respective percentage of votes obtained by eligible parties or party alliances at national level. The threshold for the entitlement of parties or party alliances to PR seats is 10%, the Prime Minister added.
Each party or party alliance will be entitled to submit a closed “party list” of up to 24 candidates, in order of precedence, not later than two days after the last day for the withdrawal of candidatures.
Allocation of six Additional Seats (Best Loser Seats)
According to the Prime Minister, the aim of the allocation of additional seats to eligible parties or party alliances is to re-establish the majority obtained by the winning party or party alliance over the other eligible parties or party alliances by ensuring the balance between stability and fairness. The objective is to scrap the actual Best Loser System and do away with the mandatory declaration of community for nomination as a candidate for the National Assembly elections. This system will also allow leaders of parties or party alliances to ensure adequate representation in the National Assembly.
Six additional seats will be allocated in the first instance and the number of seats to be allocated to each eligible party or party alliances will be computed by the Electoral Supervisory Commission.
However, added the Prime Minister, the choice of “Best Losers” will be determined by the respective leaders of the eligible parties or party alliances from the unreturned candidates of their FPTP and/or PR list(s).
In the circumstance where more than two parties or party alliances secure seats under the FPTP system, each of the parties or party alliances ranking after the first two parties or party alliances will be allotted one additional seat for every 10% of votes secured, before the balancing exercise is effected between the winning party or party alliance on the one hand and the other eligible parties or party alliances ‘grouped together’ on the other hand.
Where, following the allocation of the 6 additional seats, the majority is still not re-established, eligible party/parties will be allocated a further number of additional seats as may be necessary in order to ensure the re-establishment of the said majority. However, the maximum number of additional seats will not exceed 10.
Guaranteeing better Women Representation
At least one third of the total number of candidates fielded by each party or party alliances should be of the same sex with regard to the FPTP System.
Furthermore, at least one third of the total number of candidates on the PR list of each party or party alliance should be of the same sex. However, not more than two consecutive candidates on the PR list should be of the same sex.
Where a party or party alliance presenting more than two candidates fails to ensure that not more than two thirds of its candidates are of the same sex, all the candidates of the party or party alliance will be considered not to belong to any party or party alliance and their nomination papers will have effect accordingly (as is the case for Local Government and Rodrigues Regional Assembly Elections).
Where a PR list does not comply with the gender quota, the Electoral Supervisory Commission will declare the said list to be invalid (as is the case for the party lists of reserve candidates for Local Government Elections and the party lists of candidates for the Island Regional Election for Rodrigues Regional Assembly Elections).
Anti-defection Measures
Where a Member of Parliament, who has been elected under the PR system or who has been allotted an additional seat, crosses the floor voluntarily, his seat will be deemed to be vacant. However, where such a Member of Parliament makes a claim that he and any other members of his political party or party alliance constitute a group representing a faction which has arisen as a result of a split in his original political party or party alliance and such group consists of not less than five members of such party or party alliance, his seat will not be deemed to be vacant on the above mentioned grounds and from the time of such split, such faction will be deemed to be the political party to which he belongs.
Furthermore, the seat of such a Member of Parliament will not be deemed to be vacant where the party to which he belongs contracts an alliance with another party and such decision is supported by not less than five members. If such alliance takes place, the seats of those who do not agree to such alliance and opt to function as a separate group in Parliament will not be deemed to be vacant, whatever may be their numerical strength.
Filing of vacancies
Where a PR seat becomes vacant, the vacancy will be filled by the first available candidate in the order of precedence in which his name appears on the “party list” of the relevant party or party alliance to which the candidate, whose seat has become vacant, belonged.
In the eventuality that an additional seat becomes vacant, the filling of the vacancy will be determined by the leader of the relevant party or party alliance to which the candidate, whose seat has become vacant, belonged. The choice will be made from the unreturned candidates of the FPTP or PR list of the said party or party alliance.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website: http://gis.govmu.org

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