We recoiled against the Second Republic proposed by Navin Ramgoolam and on 10 December 2014 we made sure he didn’t get the ¾ majority that would allow him to proclaim it. This Second Republic- immediately described as a dictatorial project- would have brought those main changes in the presidential mandate:
1. The President would not be just a window dressing.
2. The President would be elected by universal direct suffrage.
3. The President would not be dismissible by parliament in case he refuses to sign a bill.
4. A presidential mandate would last seven years.
Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim the actual President, and her Vice-President Mr Barlen Vyapoory both assume roles well beyond the ‘window dressing’ function that is assigned to them by the Constitution.
If two more years were discreetly added to Ameenah Gurib-Fakim’s and Barlen Vyapoory’s contracts nobody would call that dictatorship. At that point the Second Republic is settling down upon the Constitution without ever having been the subject of a debate or a vote.
Now Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has not become President through direct universal suffrage. Had it been so she would have the incontestable right to refuse to sign a bill voted by parliament if she saw something inappropriate in it. She would also have the right to speak as a Head of State in international forums. Actually she does speak as a Head of State everywhere she goes, though that is not quite in line with the Constitution.
Is this a big deal? Does it really matter? Yes, because it is the main reason we- on 10 December 2014- denied Navin Ramgoolam a political retreat at Le Reduit- a dream place to enjoy fried salted fish and sega dancing.