Nearly one million Mauritians head to the polls on Wednesday for the tenth legislative election since the island nation’s independence, with the key campaign issue: the proposed strengthening of presidential powers. The issue of constitutional reform makes the polls one of the most important for Mauritius since the independence of the Indian Ocean nation from Britain in 1968. Two rival coalitions are competing for 62 parliamentary seats — 60 on the main island of Mauritius, and two on the small island of Rodrigues, some 560 kilometres (350 miles) to the east.
On one side, the centre-left group brings together the Labour Party (PTR) of Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and the former opposition Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) party. Ramgoolam is expected to want to run for president, a position currently elected by parliament.
Should they win, the PTR-MMM coalition have agreed to try to amend the constitution so the president will be directly elected.