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The bill on the financing of political parties, which will be presented to Parliament on Tuesday, seems doomed to failure for the second time. Two major obstacles stand up: the lack of prior consultations with the different political parties and the delicate timing of the proposal of this law, just before the next general elections.

In addition to these central criticisms, several other aspects are highlighted by political actors. They particularly regret that the government did not take into account other crucial dimensions in the development of this bill. According to them, a more inclusive approach could have made it possible to reach a broader consensus and avoid the obstacles currently encountered.

Jack Bizlall, a trade unionist and former MP, expresses a strong stance on the financing of political parties, saying that this responsibility should fall entirely on the state. According to him, this will ensure increased transparency and fairness in the Mauritian political process. He insists on the idea that the State should be the only body authorized to finance the activities of political parties, but he also underlines the importance of strict conditions to regulate this financial support.

The trade unionist also underlines the crucial role of the media in the electoral process and believes that the law on the financing of political parties should have included provisions prohibiting any form of discrimination against political parties. According to him, the state should guarantee fair access for political parties to the media by financing this opportunity.

For Jack Bizlall, it is essential to recognize that not all political parties have the same media visibility or the same resources to, for example, distribute their press releases in the newspapers. This measure will thus make it possible to create fair conditions where each political party could compete on an equal footing.

Jack Bizlall, who ardently advocates for greater fairness in the political financing process, points out that a prominent example of this inequality occurred last year, when the majority shareholder of the People's Turf Club, Jean Michel Lee Shim , publicly admitted to having financed the MSM to the tune of Rs 10 million during the elections. For him, such practices persist and compromise the democratic integrity and fairness of the electoral system.

Hazard

Ashok Subron finally expresses deep regret over the total failure of the MSM in terms of electoral reform: “The government has not acted to respect the recommendations of the United Nations since 2012, particularly with regard to the elimination of classification municipal before the next elections”.

Dev Sunnasy, from Linion Moris, also criticizes Pravind Jugnauth's strategy, affirming that it is because of this approach that the bill will not be voted on. He emphasizes that even if this bill appeared in the MSM program, presenting it purely for form is not enough. “The MSM will then once again blame the opposition for refusing to vote for this bill. But presenting such an important bill under such conditions guarantees its failure,” he says.

According to Dev Sunnasy, it is crucial to determine whether we really want to reduce the costs of elections. “One solution could consist of making public infrastructure available to political parties. For example, for holding meetings and meetings which can represent significant expenses, local authority rooms could be made available to them. Likewise, access to stadiums could be facilitated. This model is also used in France to support the electoral process,” he points out.

Two other aspects unfortunately neglected in the bill concern the functioning of the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) as well as the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC). According to Dev Sunnasy, it is necessary that the MBC no longer be allowed to determine and supervise the airtime of political parties during election campaigns. He recommends that this responsibility be entrusted to a completely independent body, while ensuring that other media guarantee fair access on their channels.

Regarding the ESC, Dev Sunnasy is of the opinion that its functioning also needs to be reviewed. To do this, it proposes a reform of the process of appointing its members in order to ensure true independence. “Only a commission with truly independent members could be empowered to exercise sanctioning powers. In the current framework, there is no point in granting such powers to the ESC because it is not sufficiently independent,” he says.

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