About this blog
A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Mauritius—a volcanic island republic located off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean—is ranked as the most democratic country in Africa by World Audit, based on the criteria of political rights, freedom of the press, corruption, and civil liberties. Candidates are required, however, to state their ethnicity, or they are not listed on the ballot. In 2010, over 100 candidates were rejected for that reason, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Mauritius has a fairly good economy, and invests more in India's economy than any other country, according to Pranay Gupte, writing in The Hindu. However, unemployment is presently almost eight percent. Mauritius has a melting-pot population of one and one-quarter million people of African, South Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, and French origin. English is the semi-official language, but Creole, French, and several other languages are evident.
In May of last year, Mauritius held parliamentary elections, and 78% of eligible voters turned out. The National Assembly elects the president and vice-president.
The Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) dominated the elections in the years before and after independence in 1968, but in 1982, the Mauritius Militant Movement (MMM) rose to power, in an alliance with the Mauritian Socialist Party (PSM). Since then, defections from parties, realignments, and shifting coalitions have occurred. An MLP-coalition, the Alliance Sociale, won the 2005 elections. In the election last year, the MLP joined with the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), the Greens, and two other parties to form the Alliance for the Future, and emerged victorious over an MMM-led alliance, winning by a six percentage-point margin.
Most of the political parties have Web sites and some even have Facebook groups, including the MLP. Campaigns are pretty tame in Mauritius, with lots of banners and flags waved, but in 2010, for the first time, the Ministry of Tourism outlawed the display of posters in order to "protect the environment," according to Touria Prayag, writing on the allAfrica.com Web site. Lots of food and beverages are dispensed though, with charges that votes are being bought with them.
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