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Paul Berenger

Institution:
Bangor University

Discipline:
Philosophy and French

Country of Origin:
Mauritius

Study Destination:
United Kingdom

Year of Graduation:
1969

Year inducted into Hall of Fame:
2015

Paul Berenger

Paul Raymond Bérenger was Prime Minister of Mauritius from 2003 to 2005. He studied at Bangor University, receiving a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy and French in 1969.  He returned to Mauritius and founded the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) while working as a Trade Unionist from 1970 to 1982 before winning that year's general elections.

In 1982, the MMM won all 60 seats directly elected seats in the National Assembly (except for two seats allocated to Rodrigues Island, which the mainland parties typically do not contest) and Bérenger was appointed as Minister of Finance. In early 1983, Bérenger proposed a constitutional amendment removing the executive powers of the Prime Minister and entrusting them to the Cabinet collectively.  This led to the dissolution of parliament and general elections and Bérenger became Leader of the Opposition until winning the elections in 2003.

Bérenger has been Leader of the Opposition on several occasions — from 1983 to 1987, 1997 to 2000, 2005 to 2006, 2007 to 2013, October 2013 to September 15, 2014. Following his party's defeat in the 2014 general elections, he became Leader of the opposition for the sixth time, making him the longest ever to serve in this constitutional position. He was also Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 1997 and again from 2000 to 2003, and he was a cabinet minister in the government of Anerood Jugnauth in 1982 and 1991.

Bérenger, a Christian of Franco-Mauritian descent, has been the only non-Hindu Prime Minister of Mauritius. He was also the first Caucasian politician to lead an African country since the end of colonial rule.