A Vote For No Change!

After the euphoria of the LDS opposition win, now comes the stark reality of running a country. The complexities of political life in this small country of ours just got a little more complex. How do the two parties work together for the benefit of our country and all our people? Now that the celebrations are over, it is slowly sinking in that Parti Lepep is still in power. James Michel is still the President and that LDS in spite of its five seat advantage, got 226 popular votes more than PL. With just over thirty thousand votes each, it is pretty clear that the country is split down the middle and strictly along party lines. What does that mean for the rest of us?

The opposition does not have a big enough majority in the Assembly to effect change without the consent of the President through his power to ‘assent’ Bills. They are not in a position to sanction Ministers or indeed sanction the President. They cannot amend the Constitution. For those knife wielding powers, LDS would have needed a two thirds majority which they failed to get. The President does not have a majority in the Assembly either, to push his Bills through. To implement some of his programs, the President needs the goodwill of the opposition which he is unlikely to get bearing in mind the leaders in the Assembly are all after his scalp.

 However if their support is not forthcoming and if the President deems it serious enough, then he can always bypass the Assembly and seek the views of the voters in a referendum. The million dollar question is will the Executive and the Legislature be willing to compromise or will the historical hatred between those two groups of people come to the fore? The smart money is backing no compromise especially on major issues of which the private sector 13th month salary Bill is bound to be a hot potato for the LDS. This will be followed very soon by the budget. If LDS was thinking of abstaining, they better think again! PL will load a few scattered bombs in that budget which will explode in the opposition faces whichever way they choose to vote or indeed not vote. Damn if you do! Damn if you don’t!!

The other million dollar question doing the rounds is how will the dynamics in the opposition camp work out bearing in mind they are a coalition of four parties who do not trust each other? Will new Speaker Pillay seek to snooker Ramkalawan as revenge for not joining with him to oust Michel in the first round of the presidential election? Ramkalawan is well known for his fiery temper which begs the question as to how long will it take before the two men clash openly and Pillay pulls rank and throws him out of the chamber? It is no secret that Pillay and Ramkalawan despise each other but in the Assembly, the Speaker is Boss and whatever he says, goes!

The speaker has a heavyweight in the wings that he can bring on board to give him support and which may frustrate Ramkalawan even more. If ex-Minister William Herminie is chosen as the new Clerk to the Assembly as it looks increasingly likely, how will Wavel work alongside him? They don’t see eye to eye and Herminie has spoken openly about overthrowing Wavel as leader of the opposition. And how long will it take before Wavel and Jean-Francois clash? Jean-Francois is another loose canon who does not suffer fools gladly and has a low opinion of Wavel.

All in all, the theatre of the National Assembly just got a lot more interesting and Friday night will never be the same again. To add spice to our Fridays, the President has appointed Simon Gill and Basil Hoareau as proportional members for his party. Gill is a through and through political animal trained in Cuba and the nemesis of Ramkalawan. Hoareau is the lawyer who humiliated Ramkalawan in Court once or twice. The stage is set for sparks to fly. The best Reality TV show is coming to our living rooms!



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