Government will consider the advisability of introducing referendums on issues of major national importance, where appropriate, taking into consideration the cost element and logistics required for such an exercise.
This reply was given yesterday by the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, in the National Assembly to a question Parliamentary Question on introducing amendments to the existing legislation on issues of major national importance.

He highlighted that Government stands committed to hold nationwide referendums on matters of utmost importance and relating to the public interest as well as on critical amendments pertaining to the country’s sovereignty or constitution.

The Prime Minister recalled that it is not the first time that the issue of referendum is raised in the National Assembly while adding that the letter of a referendum is still to be established, its spirit, which involves country-wide consultation on subjects and themes of national interest. This issue is widely being followed by the Government and there are numerous examples to illustrate this, he said.

To that effect, he indicated that Government has consistently been adopting a decentralised and participative approach to policy-making, involving extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders. A case in point is the Government proposals on electoral reform which was released well in advance for wide consultations with stakeholders and the public at large, he added.

Government consultation document on the financing of political parties which has been released on 30 November 2018 for broad consultation is another example, he said.

Moreover, he highlighted that every year Government undertakes extensive consultations with all stakeholders in the context of the preparation of the national budget and other Bills which concerns major national issues. Non-state actors, including NGOs and Trade Unions, he highlighted are co-opted in different forums for their contributions in the social dialogue, which has always characterised Government approach to public governance.

Government is committed to adopt a consultative approach in decision-making and has, in April this year, revived the National Economic and Social Council which comprises the Government, the private sector, civil society, academia and the public sector, said the Prime Minister.

Source: Government of Mauritius