Over the past two weeks, the Election Commissioner, Irfan Abdool Rahman, has been in individual consultations with a number of political parties and alliances, including PTr/MMM/ND, PMSD, Linion Moris, Rezistans ek Alternativ, En Avant Moris and Lalit, to name just a few. If everyone spoke out on the question of counting on the same day as the vote for the general elections, the government has remained silent on the question until now.

However, to introduce this measure, a “regulation”, signed by the President of the Republic, on the advice of the Prime Minister, is necessary. It appears that the government, with the successful experience of the village elections of November 2020 and the elections for the Rodrigues Regional Assembly of February 2022, agrees in principle. But some obstacles could hamper the implementation of vote counting on the same day as the general election.

“We are in favor of this, because it would eliminate doubts on which the opposition has been campaigning since 2019. But, doing it for village women or in Rodrigues, where the number of voters is restricted, is one thing. Doing it for the general elections has other implications that will have to be resolved,” confides a source close to the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth.

The number of polling rooms for the general elections will be around 2,400 compared to 1,365 for the 2020 village elections and 89 for the Rodrigues Regional Assembly elections. For the general elections, there will therefore be around a thousand more voting rooms.

So, instead of the 12 to 13,000 civil servants usually needed to carry out the election, around 20,000 civil servants will have to be deployed. This is what the Electoral Commissioner said during some of his meetings in recent days. Note that Mauritius has around 55,000 civil servants.

As for the political parties and alliances which will post three candidates in each constituency, they will each have to mobilize around 4,400 agents. Because they will need one or more agents per counting room, one manager per candidate per voting center, in addition to those who will already work for them in the schools to follow the general elections in each room and voting center, region and constituency.

If the PMSD's proposal, made on Friday, is accepted and which is to channel the boxes to a single voting center per constituency, this would make it possible to reduce the number of personnel necessary. However, on this point the PTr-MMM-ND does not agree, just like Rezistans ek Alternativ. The alliance has made it clear that it is categorically against the manipulation of ballot boxes and does not want the transfer of ballot boxes from one place to another, as has been the case so far. Linion Moris joins the PTr-MMM-ND on this point.

Points raised by the government

But, at the government level, other points are raised. Among, the category of officials deployed for the elections who will be authorized to decide on the rejection of ballots. Another important issue concerns the presence of candidates and election agents in all counting rooms during the examination of ballot papers. There is also the question of whether polling times will need to be revised, and ultimately how to ensure transparency in the tabulation of results to avoid challenges.

Another point put forward by the government: will the civil servants who started working since the centers opened early in the morning have to be there until the end of the counting? If so, will they hold up if they have to work for more than 12 hours and if not, how long do they have to work and how can we ensure that the succession takes place in the best conditions?

On the counting on the same day as the elections, Pravind Jugnauth was to indicate this to Parliament on July 21: “I personally said that I think this has many advantages, but we must approach the question in such a way that there is no perception or doubt in the minds, of course, of the candidates, the political parties and the population that certain things can happen. »

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