Some observers say that the absence of the mainstream opposition parties from the political field on May 1, for whatever reasons, calculated or not, has not allowed for a correct reading of the ‘rapport de force’ as it presently exists in the country today. This assumes that the vast resources mobilised to gather 5000-10,000 faithful (few others bother to waste their precious day off) on either side of the divide is a potent indicator of the mood of the electorate at a given time.
That being said, the MSM’s rally on its own is a flawed indicator, but it does however point to a formidable adversary that the Opposition will have to contend with in the run-up to the next elections in view of the vast financial and organisational resources that its deep pockets are said capable to marshal.
The Opposition has instead chosen to focus on its proposals made to the Electoral Commission with a view to reforming and upgrading, under the current legislation, the processes relating to the organisation and conduct of elections. Where appropriate and necessary, they have also made proposals to which the Electoral Commissioner is said to have been receptive but that would need legislative amendments, which would require the MSM and its allies to concur and bring about such amendments to Parliament– not a foregone conclusion.
The leaders of the three traditional parties, engaged in consultations and discussions about getting their act together to form an electoral alliance have obviously not reached the stage that deserves the 1st of May being used as a platform to sketch its contours, even if some followers had been hopeful otherwise.
All three leaders engaged in those talks would be fully aware of the delicate and complex questions some of which hinge on the Labour Party’s ability to sell convincingly another alliance with Paul Berenger’s MMM to its traditional electorate in constituencies 5 to 14 which in the main elect parties to power. The combined electorate weight of the LP and MMM did not produce the desired results as the elections of 2014 had demonstrated. How the electorate will react in 2024 or earlier to a tripartite LP-MMM-PMSD alliance and whether that alliance will be perceived as a stable and credible association is the crux of the matter. A winnable and workable formula cannot simply be plucked from thin air, wishful thinking or unexpected caveats if all three do not have the same partition to read from.
It is not known whether the present-day electorate, who seems more concerned about their purse and state-financed freebies and pensions than governance issues and has seen successive governments being formed without being based on deep conviction, will again want to put up with the same political adventures of the recent past or it is looking for something more enduring, well thought-out and not made up of a circumstantial patching up of parties with disparate and insubstantial aspirations. Time will tell.
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 5 May 2023
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