Mauritius: The poll, the count and the results
The poll took place on 11 September 2000 from 06h00 to 12h00 and from 13h00 to 18h00. In Rodrigues, the voting room's doors were opened to voters from 05h30 to 12h00 and from 13h00 to 17h30 (closed between 12h00-13h00 for lunch). During the lunch break, "the presiding officer shall place the ballot box and all documents relating to the election under his own seal and shall otherwise take proper precautions for the security of such ballot box and documents" (Article 22, National Assembly Elections Regulations, 1968).
By all reports, the polling process was peaceful and efficient.
In Mauritius, counting takes place at a central location in each constituency. The returning officer is responsible for the counting proceedings in his/her constituency.
A total of 80.87% of registered voters cast their votes in the 2000 national election. This is an increase of close to two per cent compared to the 79% voter turnout achieved in 1995.
Early results became available as soon as 10:30 on 12 September 2000, starting with the Island of Rodrigues. By 16:00, it was clear that the opposition MSM/MMM had secured a large majority of seats in Parliament and will therefore form the next Parliament. The leaders of the three major parties in Mauritius managed to keep their seats with the highest number of votes cast in their respective constituencies. These are Paul Bérenger of the MMM, Dr Navin Ramgoolam of the PTr and Sir Arenood Jugnauth of the MSM. PMXD's Xavier-Luc Duval lost in the Curepipe/Midlands Constituency (No19) to MSM/MMM candidates.
The MSM/MMM secured 54 of the 62 directly elected seats, the PTr/PMXD received 6 seats and the 2 Rodrigues seats went to the Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais (OPR). Allocation of additional seats on the basis of the "best losers" system will be made public shortly by the Supreme Court on the recommendation of the Electoral Commissioner.
Once more, the Block Vote system has distorted the results by giving disproportional representation to the winner. The PTr/PMXD won approximately 30% of the total votes cast in the main island but obtained only ten per cent of the seats.
In addition, only 4 women have been elected out of 62 directly elected representatives; a mere 6.42%. All were on the MSM/MMM ticket.
Soon after most constituencies made their results public, Dr Navin Ramgoolam admitted defeat in an interview to the media. He also announced his intention to play his new role of the Leader of the Opposition in the next Parliament.
On 15 September 2000, the Electoral Commissioner proceeded with the examination of the returns submitted by the Returning Officers to determine the appropriate unreturned candidates entitled to be allocated the eight additional seats in the National Assembly under the provisions of the 1st schedule of the Constitution of Mauritius. The Electoral Supervisory Commission, after taking cognisance of the Report of the Electoral Commissioner, allocated the first 6 seats and sought guidance and ruling of the Supreme Court on the issue of the allocation of the 7th and 8th seat. The Supreme Court, in its judgement delivered on 19 September has declared that the 7th seat be allocated to Ravl Raj YERRIGADOO of the MSM/MMM and the 8th seat to Xavier-Luc DUVAL of the Alliance PTr/PMXD.
Hence the distribution of the 70 seats in the National Assembly is as follows (Communication with M.A. DAHOO, the Principal Electoral Officer):
- Alliance MSM/MMM: 58 (54 directly elected and 4 "best losers")
- Alliance PTr/PMXD: 8 (6 directly elected and 2 "best losers)
- Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais: 2 (2 directly elected and 0 "best loser")
- Mouvement Rodriguais: 2 (0 directly elected and 2 "best losers")
A cabinet of 25 Ministers had already been constituted, with the leaders of the Alliance MSM/MMM, Sir Anerood Jugnauth as Prime Minister, and Mr. Paul Bérenger as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The leader of the PTr/PMXD has been appointed "Leader of the Opposition".