Mauritius premier to step down for son sparks tension

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Mauritius is bracing for political turmoil after Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth announced on Saturday he would be stepping down to make way for his son, Parvind.

“I will tender my resignation on Monday as president of the republic. I will relinquish my place to a younger and more dynamic leader, Pravind Jugnauth, who has a parliamentary majority,” said the 86-year-old political veteran.

In 2014 he was elected to his sixth term as prime minister, 22 years after first being voted in. He also served as president from 2003 to 2012.

His resignation is no surprise as back in September he had already indicated he would not see out his term, due to end in 2019.

Pravind Jugnauth, the current minister of finance, is also leader of the Militant Socialist Movement (MSM), the largest party in the governing coalition.

According to the Mauritian constitution, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim would ask Pravind Jugnauth, 55, to see if he can form a government once his father leaves office.

With 41 of 69 seats in parliament, the governing coalition should hold, although four ministers defected to the opposition in December over a constitutional row.

Some people believe that Pravind Jugnauth should not be able to succeed his father without elections.

Opposition politicians have called it immoral, while admitting it is legal.

Mauritius is a multi-ethnic archipelago nation of 1.2 million people off the east coast of Africa.

It is the only Hindu-majority country in Africa.

It was colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century, then the French and finally Britain before gaining independence in 1968.

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