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Key findings
  • bout three-fourths of Mauritians prefer democracy over any other system (77%), consider multiparty competition necessary to give voters a real choice (75%), and favour a two-term limit for the prime minister (72%). Almost as many (69%) say it’s more important for the government to be accountable than to be efficient.
  • But while two-thirds (68%) of Mauritians consider their country “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems,” only half (51%) are satisfied with the way their democracy is working – a sharp decline from 66% in 2014.
  • More than seven in 10 respondents say people “often” or “always” have to be careful about what they say about politics (71%) – a sharp increase from 57% in 2014 – as well as which political organizations they join (71%) and how they vote (73%).
  • Popular trust in political institutions and leaders has declined sharply since 2014. Fewer than one in three Mauritians say they trust (“somewhat” or “a lot”) opposition political parties (23%), the ruling coalition parties (24%), the prime minister (27%), the National Assembly (27%), their local government councillors (29%), and the president (31%).
  • Half (52%) of citizens “approve” or “strongly approve” of President Amina Gurib- Fakim’s job performance over the past year. Approval ratings are lower for Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth (46%) and members of the National Assembly (39%).

Mauritius’ commitment to good governance is embodied in its Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance, created after the Alliance Lepep came to power in 2014 (Fakun, 2016). The Ibrahim Index of African Governance vouches for the quality of Mauritius’ democracy by ranking the country as the best-governed country in Africa in its 2017 report (Mo Ibrahim Foundation, 2017).

Similarly, the efficiency of Mauritius’ institutions has long been credited as a major factor in the nation’s development success. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, trust in institutions is important for the success of many government policies, programmes, and regulations that depend on cooperation and compliance by citizens (OECD, 2017).

According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, however, Mauritians are less satisfied with their democracy and have less trust in their institutions than they did just a few years ago. Support for democracy has declined, and while citizens overwhelmingly endorse multiparty competition and insist on government accountability, they increasingly believe they have to be careful in discussing politics, and they give their political leaders decidedly mixed performance reviews.

L. Amédée Darga

L. Amédée Darga is the Afrobarometer national investigator in Mauritius.