Touria Prayag's Blog

l’express Weekly 16 March 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on March 16, 2012

Too early for a funeral

Those who had started writing Navin Ramgoolam’s political obituary had better put their pens down. It is far too early.

His latest move of proroguing the national assembly is proof enough that he still has some cards up his sleeve.

And he is going to use each and every one of them. He is showing that he has no sense of humour and that the political jokes have lasted for too long; the leader of the opposition, even after announcing the MedPoint remake, half jokingly said that the only one who could change his decision is Navin Ramgoolam himself by coming up with electoral reform. More recently, answering a guest’s question at the Garden Party about when he intended to go to Mahébourg, the president replied, “ When I return to the political arena.” Perhaps we are heading for a more serious era.

The reason given for proroguing the national assembly is the economic crisis. That’s just for public consumption of course. The fear that Bérenger may put up a motion of no- confi dence is not the reason either. In fact, if anything, the leader of the opposition now has more time to prepare a motion to put up on April 16 th if he so wishes.

There is no doubt that the prime minister is in a rather uncomfortable position. Managing a split in a government coalition isn’t the easiest thing at the best of times and these aren’t those, what with a president who is practically in the political arena and an opposition promising a no- confi dence motion. He has, however, come out of every situation so far smelling of roses. And this latest episode is no exception.

To take the full measure of the latest move, one should perhaps not concentrate too much on the time aspect of the prorogation. A prorogation is not just about delaying the re- opening of parliament.

It is also and mainly about presenting a new programme and fi lling in new posts. Psychologically, this puts an end to the last vestiges of the Alliance de l’Avenir as we once knew it. Politically, it also allows the government to settle some scores. Apart from pushing the president to read a programme he manifestly would rather not, the fi rst casualty of this will be the deputy speaker, who naturally could not be removed from his position under the previous programme. Few on the government side will shed any tears over this. For one thing, Prit Roopun did not exactly show the decorum required for his position.

You will recall that when the opposition walked out in protest over the Local Government Bill, he trailed behind fl outing the need for impartiality required of him.

There will be other casualties and other winners as well. Some MPs on the government side who have been fi dgety, trying to take advantage of the government’s weakness to bargain their way to a semblance of power will be rewarded. Those for whom there is nothing left will have to do with Navin Ramgoolam’s charm and generous smile. And of course some of his legendary promises which he may or may not keep. Still better than the vague somethingism they are being offered on the other side. One more masterly stroke by Navin Ramgoolam!

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