PORT LOUIS – Mauritian President Anerood Jugnauth paved the way for his anticipated return to party politics today, telling a local radio station that Saturday would be his last day in office.
The move is seen as shaking up the usually placid political arena in one of Africa’s most stable democracies, and Jugnauth is expected to hold a rare news conference on Friday where he is likely to officially announce his resignation.
The coalition accuses Jugnauth, a political dinosaur in Mauritian politics now mandated to serve as a ceremonial figurehead, of meddling in the running of the Indian Ocean island.
“This Saturday will be my last day,” Jugnauth was quoted as saying on Mauritius’ privately-owned radio station, Radio Plus.
His return to party politics has stoked expectations of a political showdown with the coalition.
“I did my job as it should have been done. No one can blame me for that. If I’m leaving there should be a reason for that. Tomorrow I will give more details in a statement,” he told reporters at a gathering with high school certificate laureates.
The ruling Labour Party depends on the support of the small Mauritian Social Democratic Party (PMSD) to stay in power after the president’s son, Pravind Jugnauth, pulled his Militant Socialist Movement (MSM) out of the alliance in August in disgust at corruption charges against some of his lieutenants.
Angered at the coalition’s treatment of his party, Jugnauth, who resigned as finance minister in outrage at the graft scandal, joined forces with the main opposition Mauritius Militant Movement (MMM) party.
In doing so, he re-formed an alliance that his father Anerood had fronted and swept to power with in 2000, before losing at the next poll five years later.
It is widely believed the MSM-MMM alliance wants the president to return to the party to try to reinvigorate the opposition.-Reuters