The Reform Party headed by former Minister in the former MSM-ML-PMSD-OPR cabinet, Roshi Bhadain, will play the role of a third force and risk eating in the vote bank of the MMM-MSM and Labour-PMSD electorate.
The only salvation for the four biggest parties in the country will come only if they follow a reform agenda of their own, thus outsmarting Bhadain’s party but this is a long shot.
However, both the MMM and the Labour has shown that they are incapable of crafting a reform agenda on their own. The one agenda of change they tried to shove in the throat of the voters in 2014 failed lamentably. They are not bound to come with the same agenda again for some time unless they are adamant enough to face another massive failure.
The reason for this is that both parties have abandoned the idea of a President with sufficient powers and the erosion of the Prime Minister’s powers. They are also not talking of the erosion of the Parliament’s powers too, knowing that the ‘admirable’ population of Mauritius will not sanction these choices.
It is however certain that the MMM will not ally with the Labour in the current scenario unless the Labour rids itself of Navin Ramgoolam and elects a new leadership lineup that would be suitable for the MMM.
But since this is not going to happen in the immediate, the MMM has been in talks with the MSM and one of the main points in the talks is the loss of the Prime Minister post for the party of Pravind Jugnauh.
Berenger cannot accept to be the junior partner with a weak PM like Pravind, but since the electorate may not support Berenger as PM and Pravind as DPM, the MMM is opting to go alone in the next GE.
This is not the most favoured solution by a majority in the party since the party is split between an alliance with the Labour or an alliance with the MSM, but an MSM without Pravind as PM.
Hence, the MMM will ally with the MSM after the elections, with the hope that the MSM would garner sufficient votes and seats to form a stable MMM-MSM government.
However, there is the slim possibility that the MMM may jump into the government soon if the MSM were to shove the Movement Liberateur out of the Alliance Le Pep. Though this is not the ideal solution, it would be a good start for Berenger to become the PM before the next GE.
But what about the Labour and the PMSD?
Both parties have agreed to form an alliance in which Navin Ramgoolam will lead the coalition and Xavier-Luc Duval will be the deputy PM.
The Labour Party made it clear (we published the story here: Labour-PMSD alliance 80% done) that it would only grant a certain number of seats to the PMSD on the conditions that it accepts the post of deputy PM.
While the details are not ironed out, our source told us the Labour Party want a 70-30 seats sharing formula, with the deputy PM’s post going to PMSD leader Xavier-Luc Duval while the Labour Party would promote its own Shakeel Mohamed as the new VP in the alliance.
The PMSD is said to have offered a different solution: 25 seats for the party and the rest for the Labour if Duval gets the role of PM for two years, in a deal similar to the MMM-MSM deal that catapulted the MMM leader Paul Raymond Berenger to power in 2003.
It was part of a deal forged by ex-Deputy PM Harish Boodhoo (read out story on Harish Boodhoo here) in which the MSM leader Sir Aneerood Jugnauth would assume the role of PM for 3 years and Berenger for 2 years. Berenger had the current PM Pravind Jugnauth to assume the role of deputy PM (replacing Berenger), which was part of the deal.
The MSM and the MMM shared the same number of seats, 30 each of the 60 mainland seats. The MSM/MMM alliance won 54 of the 60 seats.
The PMSD is said to be adamant on the Prime Ministers power-sharing deal, but if the deal falls through due to intense pressure from the Labourites, WFTV was told the PMSD would accept a formula where it will share the same number of seats with the Labour but Duval will remain as the Deputy PM.
We are told the Labour would want to stick to this deal rather than the one in which Duval will be come the PM after 3 years of Labour rule. But the talks are still ongoing and more updates to come soon.
What about the Reform Party in all this dance?
Our information is that the Reform Party is gaining grounds, eating into the electorate of all the four parties, due to the ‘fatigue’ of the voters against the traditional political organisations.
The fact that the two most powerful organisations in the country – the MMM and the Labour – are still gunning for the old guard, with elderly leaders vying for the PM post, the people are looking for fresh blood.
That is they want some refreshed younger face to be PM instead of the same-old, same-old faces and Bhadain makes the cut with the younger generation while he is making inroads with the elderly voters in some cases.
But he will have to deal with the rise of the PMSD, a party with a fair percentage of rising politicians who may capture the voter’s imagination with their fairness, justice and progressiveness being part of their political dialogues.
With the country’s geopolitical landscape on the move, and disruptive elements active in the political arena, it will not be surprising if both the PMSD and the Reform Party make inroads in the Parliament in the next GE.