The National Assembly is Mauritius's unicameral parliament, which was called the Legislative Assembly until 1992, when the country became a republic. It consists of 70 members, 62 elected for four-year terms in multi-member constituencies and 8 additional members, known as "best losers", appointed by the Supreme Court to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities are equitably represented. The president is elected for a five-year term by the parliament. The Assembly is made up of 70 members, of whom 62 are directly elected in 21 constituencies. The island of Mauritius is divided into 20 constituencies returning three members each and that of Rodrigues is a single constituency returning two members. After a general election, the Electoral Supervisory Commission may nominate up to a maximum of 8 additional members in accordance with section 5 of the First Schedule of the Constitution with a view to correct any imbalance in community representation in Parliament. This system of nominating members is commonly called the best loser system.
The political party or party alliance which wins the majority of seats in Parliament forms the government and its leader usually becomes the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister who selects the members of the composition of the Cabinet from elected members of the Assembly, except for the Attorney General, who may not be an elected member of the Assembly The political party or alliance which has the second largest majority forms the Official Opposition and its leader is normally nominated by the President of the Republic as the Leader of the Opposition. The Assembly elects a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker and a Deputy Chairman of Committees as one of its first business.
The Constitution of Mauritius provides for the Parliament of Mauritius to consist of the President and the National Assembly. The Parliament of Mauritius is modelled after the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, where Members of Parliament are voted in at regular general elections, on the basis of a first past the post system.