PORT LOUIS: The son of the outgoing Mauritius prime minister was appointed as the new premier on Monday, prompting accusations of nepotism and calls for a referendum from opponents.
Anerood Jugnauth, 86, who has been in his post since 2014, the latest of several terms at the helm, announced on Saturday he would step down in favour of his son and Finance Minister Pravind Jugnauth, 55 (pictured), citing the need for “a young leadership”.
President Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, who holds a largely ceremonial role on the Indian Ocean Island, said Pravind Jugnauth had been issued with a letter of appointment as the new prime minister on Monday. The formal swearing-in was due later in the day.
“Everywhere on the island it can be seen that the population is against the ‘father and son deal’ which has not gone through an election,” said Paul Berenger, a former prime minister and member of the opposition Mauritian Militant Movement. “We challenge Pravind Jugnauth to organise a referendum on this deal. Otherwise, we need to call a general election,” Berenger said, speaking on Sunday after the prime minister announced his plan to step down for his son.
Xavier-Luc Duval, the leader of the opposition coalition, said Anerood Jugnauth’s failure to resign as an member of parliament showed he would act as a “babysitter” for his son.