Mauritius has called for the general elections and the MSM-ML, like any other political parties in the country, has the chance to win.
But what happens if they really win? What will this mean for the Mauritius Militant Movement and for the Labour Party in particular?
The odds are stacked against the MSM-ML, yet the party is confident it will get the most votes and it will return to power.
That will be good for the Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, but what will it mean for the Mauritian opposition?
The MMM and the PTR, along with the PMSD or Parti Mauricien Social Democrat are in the opposition. It is a rare state of affairs.
In the political tradition of Mauritius, it is either the Labour or the PMSD in power with the MMM as the biggest opposition party.
Or it is the MMM in alliance with the MSM or PTR sharing power.
But the MSM and the Movement Liberateur created history when they found themselves in power without the MMM, PTR or PMSD. These are the traditional political powers in Mauritius for the past 50 years.
MSM MORE POWERFUL?
But the MSM played a bigger role than the MMM in terms of power-sharing and it had its hands in major political upheavals in the country since its creation in 1983.
The elections will prove whether the MSM is a real political powerhouse or is it still the small faction that it has always been?
The MSM rode on communal sentiments in winning the 1983 elections. Together with a weakened and broken Labour Party, it defeated the MMM in 1983 to form its first coalition government.
It subsequently won the 1987 elections in an alliance with the Labour Party. Together with the Mauritian Social Democrat Party, they won 44 of the 70 seats. The seats comprised of the best looser system.
In 1991, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth pulled his second-biggest victory against the Labour Party and the PMSD, beating them by 57-3. it was a shock defeat for Sir Gaetan Duval and for the then political novice Navin Ramgoolam.
Whether we like it or not, since its inception, the MSM had a larger share of power in Mauritius compared to the MMM.
But the underlying secret of the MSM is not that it commands regular political support or that it has a vast support base.
It is a party that has always benefited from the force and the powerbase of either the MMM and or of the PTR. Except for the 2014 elections!
The question in the current scenario is whether the tempo of ‘Virer Mam’ has lost steam and will reverse its course?
In the last general elections, a number of small parties and individuals joined the MSM in an alliance with the ML and PMSD. They won the elections hands down, beating the MMM-PTR alliance.
The MMM-PTR together had won a comprehensive 60-0 victory in 1995. They failed to repeat the feat in 2014 because of the nature of their alliance in that year and the debates around the political issues that did not go down well with the public.
The MMM and the Labour Party, people said, wanted to share power in a dangerous manner that risked undermining the country’s long democratic history.
If they were right on this, they were wrong on the party they had chosen to replace Navin Ramgoolam as Prime Minister.
Because since 2014, the MSM-ML ruled the country in the most unprofessional manner, gaining the title of ‘comedy of errors’ with its haphazard and topsy-turvy policies.
From the viral ‘Virer Mam’, which means ‘change’ the MSM-ML may be faced with new slogans like ‘Bourer Mam’ or ‘run’ to save their dignity.
Hence, what is left for the MMM and the PTR in 2019? This is the elections that these two political parties should dread the most.
If 2014 was a fluke, then 2019 should be a good year for them. But in the event the voters decide to gratify Pravind Jugnauth and his team of rag-tags and tongue wabbling or ‘racist’ mongers in its ranks, then it will be trouble for the two opposition parties.
Not only it will guarantee them another five horrendous and humiliating years in the opposition, together as they have been since 2014. It will also mean they need to relook at their political future.