Mauritius: Electoral system for Parliament in Mauritius

Prof Jørgen Elklit, Presentation to EISA Observer Mission Mauritius elections, June 2005.

The Mauritian parliament consists of 70 seats; 62 are constituency seats and a further 8 additional seats.

62 constituency seats

Mauritius is divided into 21 constituencies, 20 constituencies with three seats each and one constituency with 2 seats (Rodrigues island).

It is obligatory to cast as many votes as there are seats in one's constituency and seats are then allocated to the three (in Rodrigues two) candidates with most votes, i.e. by plurality.

This electoral system is called the block vote and is only used rarely, as it tends to magnify the level of disproportionality between seats gained and votes cast for a party.

8 additional "best loser" seats

To decrease problems of representation created by the system for allocation of the constituency seats, the Constitution provides for 8 additional seats[1]. These additional seats (often called "best loser" seats) are allocated in a rather cumbersome way:

  1. The degree of representation of the four ethnic communities (based on numbers in the 1972-census) compared to the ethnic composition of the elected members is calculated by dividing the 1972 community size figures by the number of seats won in the actual election by candidates belonging to that community.
  2. The most underrepresented ethnic community gets one of the first 4 additional seats, which is allocated to the best unsuccessful candidate (measured by per cent of the valid vote in his or her constituency) of that community, irrespective of party (but it must be a party candidate).
  3. This is repeated 3 times, each time re-calculating the (new) level of under-representation of the ethnic communities. If a community runs out of candidates, the seat is not given to another community, but is kept for later allocation.
  4. It is ascertained how many of the first four seats have not been given to the biggest party (measured by the total number of seats obtained in 21 constituencies). A corresponding number of seats are then allocated - one by one - to candidates of the biggest party, who belong to the most under-represented ethnic community immediately prior to that allocation. If an ethnic community entitled to a seat has run out of candidates, that seat is allocated to the best unsuccessful candidate of the biggest party irrespective of ethnic community.
  5. It is possible that all 4 + 4 additional seats have been allocated according to provisions 2-4, but if that is not so, any remaining additional seats are allocated to those parties, which have not so far got any of the additional seats. The first available seat under this provision goes to the biggest party which has not got one of these eight seats, the next to the second biggest etc.

Footnote

[1]Constitution of the Republic of Mauritius [opens new window], First Schedule, Section 5.