(eTN) – In a surprise move, at least as far as the timing was concerned, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, President of the Indian Ocean island state of Mauritius, tendered his resignation from office and declared his intention to re-join active politics as a figurehead amalgamating and galvanizing the opposition to the present government.
Close observers on the island, however, mentioned that this was not a total surprise as significant differences of opinion had appeared in the past between the President and his Prime Minister over the way the government of the day was running things and the deep concerns over many aspects in politics and the economy.
A regular source from Port Louis, in fact, mentioned that the President made special reference to Air Mauritius’ precarious financial state, besides mentioning other economic negatives and the need to up the fight on crime.
Sir Anerood, now in his 80s, previously served twice as Prime Minister, and his re-entry into day-to-day politics is seen as throwing down the gauntlet to the current government ahead of the next elections, but for sure increasing the political pressure on the coalition government, which has in the past already seen substantial cracks between partners.
His son, Pravind Jugnauth, presently is head of the MSN party that Sir Anerood founded, and the MSN and other coalition partners have pulled out of the present government leaving it with a small majority, but not enough it seems to weather the onslaught now coming its way with a new alliance being formed to take Mauritius politics into a different direction again.
“Tourism is not expected to suffer in any way from this development, as long as the political differences are confronted in the right arena. But you are right, 2012 is a difficult year for long-haul traffic from some of our core markets, and it is also true that Air Mauritius is undergoing some severe cost-cutting and re-orientation. This political development will perhaps trouble us more than we like to if the new opposition coalition and the ruling party in Mauritius cannot be civil about their differences.
“We depend on tourism and have seen what havoc political unrest caused in Madagascar, so the private sector can only appeal to the politicians to settle their issues and not let their supporters take to the streets,” said a regular contributor when mailed yesterday after the news reached.