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Mauritius - Government

The constitution establishes the separation of the powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. It guarantees the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual. The death penalty was abolished in 1989.

Mauritius became a republic on March 12, 1992. The most immediate result was that a Mauritian-born president became head of state, replacing Queen Elizabeth II. Mauritius is a democratic republic with a parliamentary system and a non-executive president. The president is appointed for a five-year term by the National Assembly.

Under the amended constitution, political power remained with parliament. The Council of Ministers (cabinet), responsible for the direction and control of the government, consists of the prime minister (head of government), the leader of the majority party in the legislature, and about 20 ministries.

Legislative power is vested in the government and the National Assembly. The unicameral National Assembly has up to 70 deputies. Sixty-two are elected by universal suffrage, and as many as eight "best losers" are chosen from the runners-up by the Electoral Supervisory Commission using a formula designed to give at least minimal representation to minority ethnic communities.

The prime minister is head of the government, which holds executive power. The prime minister and deputy prime minister are appointed by the president and are responsible to the National Assembly. The prime minister’s position is maintained by his or her ability to command a majority in the Assembly.

General elections take place every five years, based on universal suffrage for citizens over the age of 18.

Mauritian law is an amalgam of French and British legal traditions. The Supreme Court--a chief justice and 18 other judges--is the highest judicial authority. There is an additional right of appeal to the Queen's Privy Council in London. The judicial system derives from the English common law and the French Napoleonic Code. The Supreme Court comprises the Court of Civil Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal; it has a chief justice and nine judges, and has original jurisdiction in the most serious criminal cases, when it sits with judge and jury. The Industrial Court is mandated to protect the constitutional rights of the citizen. The Privy Council in the United Kingdom is the final court of appeal.

Local government has nine administrative divisions, with municipal and town councils in urban areas and district and village councils in rural areas. The island of Rodrigues forms the country's 10th administrative division.

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Page last modified: 18-09-2018 18:33:10 ZULU