Is it time to let go? The Best Loser System in Mauritius

Afrika Focus. 2015;28(1):63-79


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Afrika Focus

ISSN: 0772-084X (Print); 2031-356X (Online)

Publisher: Gents Afrika Platform, Afrika Brug

LCC Subject Category: Agriculture | Social Sciences

Country of publisher: Belgium

Language of fulltext: English, French

Full-text formats available: PDF



Yonatan Fessha (Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence University of the Western Cape, South Africa)

Nora Ho Tu Nam (Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

As Mauritius was moving towards independence, one contested issue was the electoral system to be adopted. Minority groups were wary of any electoral system which would allow for a Hinduhegemony and which would leave them unable to access power. To respond to this anxiety, Mauritius adopted the best loser system (BLS), a unique system of ethnic representation in the national parliament. This contribution examines how the adoption of BLS, has over the years, contributed to the management of ethnic diversity. More importantly, it examines the current debate regarding the contemporary relevance of BLS to today’s Mauritius. At times heavily criticized for its communal and ethnic undertones, BLS has ensured continued minority representation in parliament. The article argues that one must be cautious about dismissing the relevance of inclusive institutions such as BLS as such an attitude might well undermine the move towards a more united Mauritius.