The Local Government (Amendment) Bill was passed without amendments in the National Assembly in the early hours of Wednesday. The bill allows municipal elections to be pushed back to June 2025.
However, the Prime Minister, during debates on the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, assured that municipal elections will be held by May 2025. Pravind Jugnauth has announced the establishment of two technical committees to work on local government reforms. They will submit their proposals before Parliament resumes in 2024.
The opposition insists that there is no reason to postpone the municipal elections. They are calling for the holding of municipal and village elections to be enshrined in the constitution in the same way as general elections.
Nando Bodha was expelled during debates. It was while he was intervening in Parliament on the amendments to the Local Government Act. “We know in Mauritius that all institutions are locked and all institutions are rotten,” he said. “You cannot say that in a democratic country,” said Speaker Sooroojdev Phokeer, who asked Bodha to withdraw his words or leave. “I am not withdrawing,” Bodha replied.
Launching the debates, the Minister of Local Government, Anwar Husnoo, justified the need for reform. “The government’s proposed amendments to the Local Government Act are intended to bring about appropriate reform to local government. As a result, councillors will be able to provide better quality services to the community,” he said.
The Minister of Local Government added that the government has decided to set up a ministerial committee supported by a technical committee to examine and make recommendations on local government reform in Mauritius. “To ensure greater participation of women and youth in local politics, the ministerial committee will have to consider different options to encourage greater participation,” said Anwar Husnoo.
However, Arvin Boolell, for Labour Party, said that the bill “has to be thrown into the dustbin of history”.