Politics on the island of Mauritius is considered a national sport, one which generates both passion and excitement among the population. However, much of what takes place remains behind closed doors or within private spheres. This culture of secrecy is most tangible when it comes to what is termed as ‘money politics’ – the undue use of money during an electoral campaign. The practice of contributions to the coffers of political parties has a long history in Mauritius. But money politics has increasingly become ‘a dominant feature of elections in Mauritius’, with conglomerates, financial actors and potential benefactors actively involved in continuing ‘to finance the different parties and buy election results’.
Money is not the only factor shaping the Mauritian political landscape. Identity continues to have a significant role too. But the increased and uncontrolled costs of politics raise questions about the accessibility of elected office to average Mauritian citizens. This state of affairs has a significant impact on voters’ decisions and relationships with politicians.