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Mauritius installs ex-culture minister as president

His predecessor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigned in March 2018 after being embroiled in a scandal over her use of a credit card to buy luxury personal items. She denied wrongdoing.

Picture: Pixabay.com

PORT LOUIS - Lawmakers in Mauritius on Monday picked former arts and culture minister Pritivirajsing Roopun as president of the island nation, a largely ceremonial post.

His predecessor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigned in March 2018 after being embroiled in a scandal over her use of a credit card to buy luxury personal items. She denied wrongdoing.

In Mauritius, the prime minister is head of the government and holds most political power while the president is head of state but has no executive role and is considered the guardian of the constitution.

Roopun (61) is a lawyer who was first elected to the National Assembly in 2000 and has been minister of regional administration, social integration, and arts and culture.

In November, Mauritius held elections which saw incumbent Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth win a new five-year term.

Since attaining independence from Britain in 1968, Mauritius has become one of the most stable democracies in Africa.

It developed from a poor, agriculture-based economy into a prosperous economy striving to reach high-income status by 2025.

Driven by tourism -- the islands boast pristine beaches and coral reefs -- a textile industry and booming financial sector, the economy expanded at close to 4% in 2018.

But it is not without its troubles.

Youth unemployment and inequality are growing problems, with joblessness at a stubborn 22% for young Mauritians. The gap between rich and poor is also seen to be rising.

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