Mauritius is a sovereign democratic state within the commonwealth with a long tradition of parliamentary democracy, based on the Westminster model. It became a Republic in 1992.
The Government is led by the Prime minister and derives its authority from an elected Legislative Assembly.
The President appoints as Prime Minister, the member of the Assembly who appears to whom best able to command the support of the majority of the members of the Assembly and
acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoints the deputy Prime Minister and the other ministers of the Assembly.
The President also appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister the Attorney General who is the principal legal adviser to the Government and who has the office of Minister.
The constitution also provides for a leader of the opposition, appointed by the President.
General elections are held every five years on the basis of universal adult suffrage and by secret ballot. The right to vote is at 18. For electoral purposes, the
Mauritian territory is divided into 21 constituencies, the island if Mauritius having 20 constituencies and the island of Rodrigues forming the 21st. Each constituency elects three candidates;
Rodrigues elects two.
The National Assembly comprises 70 members: 62 elected members and 8 additional seats allocated to the ‘best losers’ so as to achieve communal balance without disturbing
the political equilibrium established by the election results.
Mauritius holds fast to the principle of democracy and opportunity for all, irrespective of race, creed or religion.
The constitution protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, including freedom of expression, of association, of movement. The judiciary is fully
independent and the Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings.
The constitution also provides for an Ombudsman who is appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition. The Ombudsman is
empowered to examine complaints of misadministration resulting in injury to citizens.
Mauritius is divided into towns, districts and villages. There are five municipal councils in the urban areas and in the rural areas; there are four district councils under
which fall 100 village councils. The main link between the Central government and the local authorities is provided by the Minister of local government. Councilors are elected in accordance with the
representative of the People Act and they remain in office for a period of three years.
The separation of powers in the constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the country. It is composed of the Chief Justice, the Senior Puisne Judge and seven Puisne Judges. It is a superior
court of record and has the same powers, authority and jurisdiction as the High Court of Justice in England. It is the principal court of original civil and criminal jurisdiction. It exercises jurisdiction in
divorce matters. It hears appeals from all other courts of the country over which it exercises powers of supervision. In addition, the Constitution of Mauritius gives the Supreme Court special
jurisdiction to protect the constitutional rights of the citizen.
The Intermediate Court
The Intermediate Court has civil and criminal jurisdiction. Criminal cases include involuntary homicide, arson, bigamy, rape, wounds and blows causing death without intention
to kill, and any other case which the District of Public Prosecutions may in his discretion refer to the Intermediate Court.
The District Court
The District Courts, nine in number, are presided over by District Magistrates who sit alone to try civil and criminal cases within their jurisdiction.
The Industrial Court
The Industrial Court is vested with unlimited jurisdiction in labour and industrial matters, including workmen’s compensation.
The Judge in Bankruptcy and Master and Registrar presides over the Bankruptcy Division of the supreme court which exercises jurisdiction in matters pertaining to bankruptcy of
traders and companies.
All the courts and their staff are, for administrative purposes, under the control and supervision of the Chief Justice.