The Alternative Government, not the future Opposition!
If they want to prove their doubters wrong and win it against the odds, the re-composed opposition front have to show belief in themselves as THE alternative to a weakened PTr government, hit with numerous scandals and no obvious achievement in terms of “bilan économique” for the last 9 years now, rather than giving the impression it is a battle lost already! History has proven that people rather vote a government out than settle for continuity. They might just have the edge over the newly lost-love-found of the MMM for the PTr who were not so long ago a fierce opponent of the red establishment, but now prefer to join them instead of fight them! The opposition front could say: “Listen! Unlike the MMM, we did not join them, because we can and will beat them!”
A Shadow Minister of Finance (MoF)
The last time that an opposition was voted in was in 2005. Ramgoolam had Sithanen onboard as the obvious shadow MoF and deputy PM on the front bench, the rest is history. He may well be onboard again this time around on the sitting government’s end, but the opposition could challenge his weaknesses provided they can match him with an equaled if not better counterpart, find the right candidate for the hot-seat, “l’oiseau rare” will also define the socio-economic political agenda of the alternative government; someone who is apt to refute the sitting government’s shambolic “bilan”. Some strong realistic proposals and an attractive package could well seduce.
Smart Team (More youth and women)
Although SAJ is at the twilight of his career, The MSM/PMSD/Muvman Liberater should rally at large and come up with a rejuvenated team blended with potential young candidates and obviously more women. The Electoral Reform, subject to public acceptance, is supposed to ensure a quota of 1/3 women representatives. Nothing prevents the opposition coalition from doing just that this time around. After all, unlike the PTr/MMM alliance, they have room to maneuver with junior partners like PMSD/Muvman liberater. Candidates with clean-sheets could weigh much more on an enlightened part of the electorate which is more inclined for competency over party-line votes! Key potential candidates that could hold strategic offices could also make a huge difference.
An electoral manifesto is often the last thing on mainstream parties’ agenda. They could well break away from that common practice by publishing their programme way before and turn the table upside down on the sitting government! They should focus on coming up with a socio-economic manifesto that responds to the people’s expectations, in line with the ecological/energetic challenges; one that will introduce new poles of economic development, create employment and give a significant boost to our economic growth. They should tackle law and order issues [SAJ is already known for that], bring down: the political culture of agents nominations in parastatal bodies, elite-capture of state owned land and give away public contracts to serving members of the regime! If they can elude this current practice, they will definitely dig in the “floating voters” bank and grab some more votes.
Elections are mostly won in the latter stages of the campaign and on the Day, but a well-crafted one could turn things around especially if they jump off the starting blocks on a high. By now, no one is baffled not to admit that Bérenger and the MMM ruled out their role as main opposition party, whilst they were negotiating with the PTr for the last 8 months. There is no point in flagging this time and time again. People are gone past those usual political rhetoric or physical traits of the opponents causing more harm than anything else! Those who no longer adhere to a PTr/MMM federation could well buy a smarter approach.
Instead, the alternative alliance must switch the debate onto the strengths of their dream-team (more youth/women) with clean-sheets, alongside experienced sitting MPs, the appealing proposals through a fine-tuned people-oriented electoral manifesto, supported by a strong shadow MoF (go get him NOW) who is up for the challenge and can arguably be at the heights of some great finance ministers this country has ever witnessed. SAJ’s stature and past achievements should push them to do even better. Faith can shake mountains!