Mauritius is a democratic republic with a parliamentary system and a non-executive president. The president is appointed for a five-year term by the National Assembly.

The prime minister is head of the government, which holds executive power. The prime minister and deputy prime minister are appointed by the president and are responsible to the National Assembly. The prime minister’s position is maintained by his or her ability to command a majority in the Assembly.

Legislative power is vested in the government and the National Assembly. The Assembly comprises up to 70 members, 62 of whom are elected (60 from 20 three-member constituencies on the island of Mauritius plus two from the single constituency of Rodrigues). Seats are allocated to a maximum of eight additional members to allow representation of a variety of ethnic groups; this system of nominating members is commonly called the ‘best loser’ system.

General elections take place every five years, based on universal suffrage for citizens over the age of 18.

Local government has nine administrative divisions. The island of Rodrigues forms the tenth division.

The constitution establishes the separation of the powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. It guarantees the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual. The death penalty was abolished in 1989.

The judicial system derives from the English common law and the French Napoleonic Code. The Supreme Court comprises the Court of Civil Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal; it has a chief justice and nine judges, and has original jurisdiction in the most serious criminal cases, when it sits with judge and jury. The Industrial Court is mandated to protect the constitutional rights of the citizen. The Privy Council in the United Kingdom is the final court of appeal.