The by-election victory of the Labour party is full of significance and is different from all other by-elections we had in this country.

If one has to analyse the by-election in Constituency No 18 (Belle-Rose-Quatre Bornes) and does a real-post mortem of the results, one will definitely come to the conclusion that the electorate had no option than to choose between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Only 3 years ago the same electorate rejected the Labour-MMM alliance in favour of an MSM-PMSD-ML Alliance and hailed the latter as the heroes of the day. Today, 3 years after, a Labour party candidate makes a triumphant return with a good score of votes thus making of Arvin Boolell an MP.

The questions one needs to ask: why did Ramgoolam choose Boolell for this Constituency No 18 in the first place? Was there a hidden agenda on the part of Ramgoolam for this choice? Why did he not have the guts to be a candidate himself? Let us not forget that there has been a sort of cold war between Boolell and Ramgoolam over the leadership of the Labour Party for quite some time now.

Today such dissidence over the leadership is an ongoing affair. Does Boolell, now as a winning candidate, pose a threat to Ramgoolam’s leadership? Had Boolell lost this by-election, wouldn’t this have been a great relief for Ramgoolam? It is clear and obvious that the electorate in Constituency No 18 has voted to make Boolell a legitimate candidate for the leadership of Labour Party, there is no doubt about that! We all know that Ramgoolam wants to stay, at all costs, as leader of the Labour Party! What sort of future the Labour Party has today now that Boolell is back in Parliament? Only time will tell!

In this by-election, 45% people did not vote. The number of voters that have done their civic duty amount to 23,112. So it is obvious that the Labour Party is not that strong enough to shout victory over the government of the day. When one does a bit of mathematical exercise by adding all the votes of the MMM, PMSD, Reform Party, Mouvement Patriotique and Rezistans ek Alternativ, the total of votes exceeds or surpasses the figure of 10,000 votes. Therefore, it is clear that the Labour Party has got only its traditional loyal electorate. So the Labour Party is not in a position to claim that they are that strong with only 7,990 people who have voted for their candidate over 42,500.

What has gone wrong with our electoral system? For years now, we have been saying that it is high time that we get rid of the caste system. Elections should never be based on caste and yet certain people still believe in this discriminatory system which is quite unfair on the meritocracy of others. Let us hope the concept of fixed deposit is also thing of the past. Traditional political parties are gradually disappearing, making way for a new generation of political parties where there won’t be caste, discrimination, nepotism and communalism.

The victory of the Labour Party in this by-election in Constituency No 18 will not make any difference over the future of this government. The Labour Party won that election over the other opposition parties and not over the team of the actual government which did not take part. One can’t compare a mere by-election with a general election! Ramgoolam is a non-event in this by-election as the electorate is less enthusiastic to support and give him the importance of a leader.

AHMAD MACKY