Politics is once again the center of the debates with the various parliamentary and extra-parliamentary regimes making alliances for the next elections, congresses with packed halls aimed at bringing together old and young people. On the ki nouvo moris set of Monday, October 21,2023, Ashok Subron union representative and member of the national committee of the eco-socialist party Rezistans ek Alternativ (ReA) was invited to speak about the political and ecological situation of Mauritius. The latter declares that in order to change the system and amend the Constitution, a majority of ¾ is required. Indeed, a united front bringing together several parliamentary and extra-parliamentary parties as well as the ecologists, the unions are required to provide the government with the necessary transitions to address the many fears and demands of the population.
Ashok Subron started the debate saying that the political situation in the country has become even more frightening that the last years. First of all, the budget that the regime in power has set up, is scary for all the Mauritian households and on the other hand, a budget which announced a number of social measures which many people qualify as pre-election measures, such as the allocation of 20,000 rupees to young people who will turn 18 this year and next year. Next, the CSG income allowance given to workers.
“The government wants to capitalize on all these things without really addressing the main concerns of the people, the fear that Mauritians have. A good number of Mauritians no longer want to live in their island.”
The allowances are not given for free because it is with the money of the workers, of those who pay the taxes which are used to grant all these allowances. According to a calculation made by Ashok Subron, on average 13,000 rupees of VAT are paid by month by each Mauritian family.
The member of Rezistans ek Alternativ then qualifies this maneuver as taking in the right pocket to put in the left one. These so-called social measures were made to win the 2019 elections by offering social benefits such as an increase at the old age pension and now the regime wants to capitalize on the youth by saying that they are a party that wants to represent the youth.
Subron points out that there are several young people like political and ecological activists who are against this way of operating. Indeed, some government uses youth associations to propagate and create a partisan politics.
The two uprisings of August 29 and September 12 were historic because they brought together thousands of people. What are very important underlines Subron that this crowd was largely composed of extra-parliamentary opposition force, committed citizens, environmental activists but also people from four corner of the island.
“Of course, there were supporters of other traditional parties, but the engine of these manifestations were extra-parliamentary forces. It was at these moments that people were asking the setting in motion in order to create a new Mauritius.”
With all the events that have taken place during the past 4 years, Mauritius is in a major socio-political turmoil and this period (the covid-19 and the ecological massacre of the Mv Wakashio) cam be considered as a decisive period in the history of the country. The question we are now asking is what political and electoral outcome had the movement and uprising of 2020 created?
Some extra-parliamentary political party joined together creating a single party, other mainstream parties joined for a while and dissolved quickly. Ashok Subron notes that since 2019, all the parliamentary opposition parties which had decided to create a bloc have unfortunately failed.
After all these events, the institution of the police begins to act against the opponents of the powers. Several arrests and intimidations were made.
Indeed, for some time, a large part of the population is unfortunately not represented in parliament because the current regime has less than 40% of votes. All this to say that the fact that the votes are dispersed between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition parties, resulted in a regime such as this one comes to power with not even half the votes of the population. Subron declares that the big challenge today is how to recreate this momentum of massive get in motion like in 2020 and 2021 and how it can become a force that will build something for the island. To change the situation, we need a change of government, and the most important thing is to change the system says the syndicalist.
“Knowing who will be the prime minister or replacing one party with another should not be the main concern. The goal of ReA is to ensure the defeat of the government in power and provide for constitutional and systemic change and to do so a majority of ¾ is needed.”
However, at the center of debates, this law is often forgotten. Subron for instance is of the idea that for now it is difficult for a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition party to secure a ¾ majority. To have this majority, we need a united front bringing together all those who can contribute to the creation of a new island of Mauritius. The project that ReA wants to bring is a constitutional and structural change.
Watch the debate here: