n Journal of African Elections - Mauritius : the not so perfect democracy




Mauritius has come a long way since independence in 1968, when observers predicted that the 'overcrowded barracoon', as V S Naipaul referred to the island, would fail to achieve peace and economic prosperity. As a result of its success in managing diversity and capitalising on protected markets and guaranteed export prices Mauritius has emerged in recent decades as a democratic and economic model for its peers on the African continent. However, with the onset of globalisation Mauritius is now entering a period of democratic stagnation as islanders confront the rise of ethnic and dynastic politics, the advent of political cronyism and patronage, the marginalisation of minorities, and growing disenchantment with and cynicism about the political class. This article highlights what can be considered the numerous deficiencies and flaws in the highly celebrated Mauritian 'picture perfect model'. Due attention must be given to addressing these if a social, economic and political implosion is to be avoided.


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