Social Media, Elections and Political Engagement: The 2014 General Election in Mauritius

Mauritius has preferred the ballot to the bullet, earning its status as a democracy to be emulated within Africa. Elections are a regular feature of the Mauritian political landscape, and since it became independent in 1968 the small island has already held ten elections deemed to be free and fair. Another
notable feature is the relatively high level of voter turnout, which has hovered at between 70% and 85% for the past ten general elections. With such an impressive scoreboard all should be fine, but unfortunately this is not the case. Over the past few years a number of gnawing democratic deficits have
been noted, in particular the advent of dynastic politics, the rise of ethno-politics and the presence of big money in politics. Elections have seen the alternation of power but unfortunately it has been with the same parties and the same leaders. In fact, across the world established politics is in crisis and Mauritius is not exempt from this state of affairs. The objective of this paper is to explore the possibility of doing politics differently through the use of new technology and social media. The paper will explore whether Mauritius has followed the trend of what is now being termed direct democracy, and the possibility for a new kind of political engagement and in the process the construction of a new political discourse.

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Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol16 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa