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Negotiating Independence in Mauritius

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The democratic institutions, especially the electoral institutions for converting votes into seats that were chosen during independence negotiations, have been the key to democratic stability in Mauritius. These institutions emerged out of strategic bargaining structured around a combination of contextual and contingent variables. Conflicting political interests reflecting a combination of class, sectarian and communal interests influenced the institutional preferences of Mauritian elites involved in independence negotiations, leading them to converge on institutional designs that they expected would protect and promote those interests in the new democratic polity. Once in place, the new institutions represented equilibrium outcomes, creating incentives for all actors, engendering a learning curve in peaceful accommodation of inter-group conflicts, and establishing the political basis for social stability, democratic consolidation, and economic development.

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