Mauritius News & Current Events
In Feb. 2002, Mauritius went through four presidents in succession. Two resigned within days of each other, each after refusing to sign a controversial anti-terrorism law that severely curtailed the rights of suspects. The law, supported by the prime minister, was ultimately signed by a third, interim president. At the end of February, a fourth president, Karl Offman, was elected by parliament.
In Oct. 2003, Paul Berenger, a white Mauritian of French ancestry, became the first non-Hindu prime minister in the history of Mauritius. Berenger and the previous prime minister, Anerood Jugnauth, formed a coalition during Sept. 2000 elections. Under their agreement, Jugnauth served as prime minister for three years and Berenger assumed the prime ministership for the remaining two years of the term. Jugnauth then became president in 2003, and in July 2005, Navin Ramgoolam, prime minister from 1995 to 2000, again assumed that office.
President Jugnauth Resigns and Becomes Prime Minister for the Sixth Time
On March 30, 2012, President Anerood Jugnauth resigned. He cited his disagreement with new government policies and programs as well as a lack of accord with other members of the government. Recently, he had a very public conflict with Prime Minister Ramgoolam. Earlier in March, the tension between the two men erupted when a new opposition alliance, to be led by Jugnauth, was announced. Ramgoolam asked for Jugnauth's resignation if news of the new alliance was true. "I'm not in agreement with the philosophy of the government and the way the country is run," Jugnauth said to the local media while announcing his resignation. Vice President Monique Ohsan Bellepeau was named acting president.
Mauritius National Assembly elected Rajkeswur Purryag as president. He was sworn in on July 21, 2012.
In the 2014 General Elections, Anerood Jugnauth became prime minister for the sixth time. To become prime minister again, he led a historic alliance against the two largest parties in Mauritius, the Labour Party and Mauritian Militant Movement.
Gurib-Fakim Becomes First Woman Elected President
On May 29, 2015, Rajkeswur Purryag resigned to make room for Jugnauth's new alliance candidate, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, to be elected president. Both Jugnauth and Leader of the Opposition Paul Berenger welcomed her nomination. A biodiversity scientist, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was unanimously approved by the National Assembly.
Gurib-Fakim took office on June 5, becoming the first woman elected president of Mauritius. Both Elizabeth II and Monique Ohsan Bellepeau have served as president, but Gurib-Fakim was the first to be elected.