Mauritians' Assessment of Election Quality took a Hit in 2019
In November 2019, Mauritians conducted their 11th general election since independence in 1968, handing the ruling Militant Socialist Movement a clear victory and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth a five-year term. In the Economist Intelligence Unit (2019) Democracy Index that followed in early 2020, Mauritius ranked as a “full democracy,” 18th worldwide and No. 1 in Africa. Yet some worrying allegations and unanswered questions still linger in citizens’ minds due to perceived irregularities in the electoral process. A member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission announced in a news conference that 6,813 people had been unable to vote because their names were not featured on the voters’ registration roll. Furthermore, marked ballots were alleged to have been found outside counting centers – a first in the history of Mauritius. A number of challenges to the announced results are awaiting court proceedings. An Afrobarometer survey in Mauritius, conducted about a year after the election, shows that citizens’ assessments of their national elections took a hit. While a majority see the 2019 election as having been generally “free and fair,” negative assessments of election quality more than tripled compared to views of the 2010 and 2014 elections captured in previous surveys. A large majority of citizens believe that an unusual number of people’s names were absent from the voters’ register. Significant minorities think that some people voted more than once and that the media was not fair in its coverage of candidates. Despite these concerns, a majority of Mauritians believe that the announced election results are largely accurate.