Mauritius: Sluggish gains for women following Nov polls

Mauritius: Sluggish gains for women following Nov polls

Date: November 12, 2019
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11 November, Port Louis:  The proportion of women in the Mauritius parliament has increased from 12% in 2014 to 20% in the 7 November elections: still  well short of the gender parity target in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Expressing disappointment at the outcome, GL Board member Loga Virahsawmy called for urgent electoral reform. “Mauritius is known as a model of democracy. It is a signatory to international and continental gender instruments on gender equality and yet the country is still lagging behind on women parliamentarians,” she noted.

The National Assembly has a total of 70 seats. Of these, 62 are for elected members in 21 constituencies on a First Past the Post (FPTP) basis including two seats from the island of Rodrigues.  Eight seats are reserved for Best Losers (BL). The way the BL system works is that the Electoral Supervisory Commission may nominate a maximum of eight additional members with a view to correcting any imbalance in community representation in parliament.Minorities comprise Christians and Muslims with a small percentage of Sino-Mauritians.

Party Seats including BL F M % F
Alliance Moricien (AM) 42 8+2BL 30+2BL 23.8
Alliance National (AN) 17 1 BL 14 + 2BL 5.8
Movement Militant Mauricien (MMM) 9 2+1BL 6 33
Organisation du Peuple Rodriguais (OPR) 2 0 2 0
Total 70 14 56 20


The Alliance Moricien (AM) headed by incumbent Prime Minister, Pravin Kumar Jugnauth, got a landslide victory with 42 seats out of 70, or 60%.  Dr. Navin Ramgoolam, former Prime Minister from 2005 to 2014 and leader of the Alliance National (AN) failed to win a seat. His alliance won only 14 seats and a further three as BL. The other mainstream political party, Movement Militant Mauricien (MMM) headed by Paul Berenger (Prime Minister from 2003 to 2005) got only eight seats and an additional one for BL.

Only ten women made it through the FPTP seats. In one small glimmer of hope for the 50/50 campaign, women were allocated four or half the BL seats. This gave women 14 out of 70 seats or 20%.

The two Alliances (Alliance Moricien and Alliance National) and the MMM all filed 20% women candidates. Eight were elected from the AM and two from the MMM. All the 20% women candidates fielded by the AN lost the elections. One was nominated as BL.  All the four former gender ministers- Arianne Navarre-Marie, Mireille Martin, Aurore Perraud and Fazila Daureeawoo – lost the elections in their respective constituencies. Arianne Navarre-Marie and Fazila Daureeawoo got their seats back through the BL system.

Gender Links congratulates the 14 women who will sit in the next Parliament. Eleven of them stood as candidates for the first time and they made it either thought direct votes or the best loser system. GL counts on them to train and encourage other women to join politics and stand as candidates at both local and national elections.

The next Village and Municipal elections are due to take place in 2020. Thanks to civil society activism, the Local Government Act (2013) requires that 33% of candidates be either female or male candidates. This has led to steady increases

“The New Local Government Act stipulating a gender-neutral approach for the local elections is a model that has brought results,” noted Virahsawmy. “Electoral reforms and provisions in the Constitution for a gender-neutral approach need to be looked into urgently. I hope this will be on the Agenda of this new Parliament.”

For more information on gender and elections in Mauritius, contact Anushka Virahsawmy on +23059345787 or email on

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