Colonial Continuities in Independent Mauritius: Parliamentary Democracy, The British Crown, and State Repression

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Sarah Gray


This article generates a fresh perspective on notions of colonial continuity broadly and Mauritian governance specifically. I argue that Mauritius’ immediate postcolonial governance was characterised by colonial continuity rather than rupture through three core examples: first, the government’s maintenance of a constitution negotiated under imperialism that reinforced colonially defined community divisions and also gave successive Mauritian elites an advantage in electoral processes; second, the political elite’s open allegiance to British structures of power through overt celebrations of the British monarchy and parliamentary democracy; third, the reliance of postcolonial elites on old and new legislation that reproduced the repressive conditions of the colonial period. Together these examples historicise Mauritian governance to highlight some of the lingering legacies of colonialism and how elites chose to embrace rather than reform them.

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