November 7, 2014 / 4:47 PM / 4 years ago

Mauritius sets Dec. 10 date for parliamentary election

Mauritius' Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Mauritius will hold a parliamentary election on Dec. 10, the presidency said on Friday, with two coalitions fighting to secure a majority of seats in the national assembly.

The Labour Party and the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) make up the first coalition, which wants to change the constitution if its wins.

The second brings together the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) and the Parti Mauricien Social Democrate (PMSD).

Parliament was dissolved a month ago in line with constitutional requirement for an election to be held every five years. President Rajkeswur Purryag’s office issued a statement setting Dec. 10 as election day.

If the Labour/MMM coalition wins, it wants to amend Mauritius’ constitution to make the country a hybrid democracy - part-presidential and part parliamentary - from the present when the president is mostly ceremonial.

Under the proposed changes, the current Labour Prime Minister, Navinchandra Ramgoolam would become a president with expanded powers, while Paul Bérenger, the leader of the MMM, would be the prime minister.

Mauritius is one of the most politically stable African nations, enjoying a vibrant economy driven by services like finance and tourism.

Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff, Editing by Duncan Miriri and Angus MacSwan

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