Briefing Paper

Mauritius and its First Woman President

The appointment of the first woman president of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim marked a momentous occasion in the political history of the island. As president of Mauritius, what is her job description as set out in the Constitution if not to uphold the rule of law,
protect the Constitution and, appoint the prime minister and cabinet? Her functions as the president do not extend beyond these confines as everything else, including the direction of policy, has
constitutionally been demarcated to be the province of the prime minister. This piece casts light into the meaning of Gurib-Fakim’s appointment for the
highly expectant nation of Mauritius and, scratches the surface by teasing out the constitutional implications of her appointment against the backdrop of the set of goals she wants to achieve during her term of office as the ‘head of state’. The last section offers recommendations to help solve this constitutional conundrum that Gurib-Fakim’s presidency may have to grapple with.