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  • Jean Claude de l’Estrac: “for many voters, the issue of the elections lies elsewhere”

All eyes are on the presentation of the government's latest Budget for this mandate and the population's expectations are at their peak. Over the years, people have become accustomed to various forms of social allowances and one-off aid, including the Rs 20,000 offered to young people celebrating their 18th birthday.

Naturally, she hopes that the government will continue this momentum and that new generous measures will be announced. Speculation around a possible 14th month of salary, as well as a salary increase of at least 5%, continues to fuel conversations. Suffice to say that many Mauritians are waiting for the government to turn, hoping to see such measures come to fruition.

This budget presentation is closely scrutinized by various observers, aware that the next general elections are looming on the horizon. If some believe that this Budget will constitute the ultimate weapon of the MSM to launch its electoral campaign in the best conditions, others adopt a different perspective, wondering to what extent it could influence the electoral success of the government.

Finally, the electoral equation that is emerging in view of the next elections can be summarized quite directly. “The balance of power in the next elections is relatively simple. Vote of satisfaction, the Budget of the helping minister; vote sanction that the opposition will not fail to demand during the debates,” he concludes.

According to Yvan Martial, it is often difficult to remember the success of these Budgets, but in general, governments tend to orient the exercise in such a way as to have an electoral impact. He points out that successful governments have often adopted the strategy of introducing unpopular measures at the start of their mandate, while populist measures are reserved for the end of the mandate, in the run-up to general elections. By examining more precisely the effect that a budget can have on the electoral success of a government, Yvan Martial puts things into perspective by recalling that “the government of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam had presented a Budget at the end of its mandate in 1982, and that this had not prevented his government from suffering a resounding 60-0 defeat in the general election. He also mentions the Budget presented by the government of Sir Anerood Jugnauth in 1995, where the incumbent government also suffered a humiliating 60-0 defeat.

2014: The PTr decided to do without the Budget

In 2014, the Labor Party (PTr) decided not to present a Budget, convinced of the solidity of its alliance with the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM). Navin Ramgoolam had chosen to focus on the terms of this alliance rather than presenting a Budget. However, this strategy ultimately led to a crushing defeat of the PTr-MMM alliance.

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