Mauritius. In the May 5 parliamentary elections, the
Alliance of the Future (L'Alliance de l'Avenir) won. The
Alliance, which the ruling Labor Party had formed before the
election together with the Mauritanian Socialist militant
movement and the Mauritanian Social Democratic Party, got 41
of the 69 seats in Parliament. The main opponent was the
opposition Alliance du Coeur (Alliance du Coeur), which
included Mauritius militant movement, the National Union and
the Social Democratic movement. The opposition, led by
former Prime Minister Paul Berenger, received 18 seats.
Mauritius has a population of 1.265 million (2018). Over 500 candidates competed for the 62 elective seats.
The other seven mandates were distributed among the
candidates who were not elected, according to a system in
which the "best losers" also get a seat in Parliament.
Among the most important issues were economic reforms,
corruption, ethnicity and drug trafficking. The turnout was
high, around 78 percent. With the victory of the government
side, Navin Ramgoolam was able to continue as prime
minister. His new government was sworn in on May 11.
In June, Mauritius and France signed an agreement to
jointly manage Tromelin, a small island in the Indian Ocean
controlled by France, but claimed by Mauritius and
Madagascar. The island is uninhabited and is off the eastern
coast of Madagascar.
Mauritius' strained relationship with Britain
deteriorated if possible in April, when British Foreign
Minister David Miliband announced that the disputed Chagos
Islands would become the world's largest marine reserve. The
Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean are controlled by
Britain, but Mauritius, which has previously administered
the islands, claims them. Mauritius Foreign Minister Arvind
Boolell expressed his anger in the media that the British
government made the decision on the reserve without asking
the Mauritius government. Representatives of the displaced
Chagos residents said the project would hamper their ability
to move back to the islands as fishing will be banned in the
reserve. Fishing was the main supply of the Chagosborn
before being forced out of the islands.
The conflict between Mauritius and the UK dates back to
1965 when Britain leased the Chagos Islands' largest island,
Diego Garcia, to the United States that built a military
base there. Britain forced the approximately 2,000 Chagos to
move to Mauritius, 20 miles southeast of the islands. Many
of them are living in poverty today, while others are
refugees in the UK.
The indigenous people of Chagos have long struggled to
move back to the islands, but Britain has said no, citing
international security. The Diego Garcia air base was most
recently used during the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
and has also recently housed prisons for US terror suspects.
The most recent decision on the Chagosborn relocation was
made in 2008. At that time, the Lords, the UK's highest
legal body, said no to relocation. The matter now lies with
the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg.
Miliband claimed that the issue of the reserve does not