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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Containing Political Instability on a Poly-Ethnic Society: The Case of Mauritius
Author:Mukonoweshuro, Eliphas G.
Periodical:Ethnic and Racial Studies
Geographic term:Mauritius
Subjects:plural society
political stability
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Abstract:In a continent whose political record has been largely marred by almost three decades of postindependence political turmoil verging on genocidal proportions, the small State of Mauritius has devised a sociopolitical system that has largely succeeded in containing some of the worst excesses of bloody political confrontation usually associated with polyethnic societies. This article surveys the ethnopolitical structure of Mauritian society during the period of the Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) hegemony (1968-1976), the 1976 general election and the end of the MLP hegemony, the 1982 electoral programmes, the 1983 electoral campaign, and the difficulties of the Grande Alliance government in the 1980s. It argues that Mauritius has devised and maintained a three-pronged strategy to safeguard political stability, namely: 1) the adoption of constitutional safeguards to accommodate ethnic divisions; 2) a spoils system of (ethnic) parliamentary representation designed to ensure that no section of the population is alienated, thereby resulting in the politicization of ethnic divisions; 3) a 'national patronage' system through which massive social welfare spending has been maintained since independence. Finally, the commitment of the various ruling coalitions to the parliamentary process has had the effect of impelling the major opposition parties to seek to gain power through peaceful constitutional means rather than through violent political confrontation. Bibliogr., notes.