There can be no question that the people have spoken and given the MSM-PMSD-ML alliance a clear and unambiguous mandate to govern the country for the next five years.
It is too early at the time of writing, this Thursday, to analyse the rising tide that was palpable, although uncertainty continued as to what extent the “Bizin Sanzman” or “Vire Mam” philosophy had hit the national mood right and how far it would sweep the parliamentary seats. 40-20 as SAJ forecast two days ago, or even more lopsided? In many ways, the outcome may bear superficial resemblance to the 2005 phenomenon, when the Labour Party (LP), aided by smaller bedfellows, riding a wave for change, tumbled over the alliance of two “big” parties coming out of office.
With the proviso that in 2005, it was after a single mandate of the MSM-MMM alliance. The LP has been in office for two successive mandates, bearing the full weight of incumbency, electoral distanciation from its base and a treacherous pitch for an unpopular electoral reform, while its alliance partner, the MMM, has not even been in office for the past ten years, yet failed to muster any meaningful support, even in its urban strongholds.
Both the 2005 and these current elections conjoin on a basic fact that much of the LP and MSM electorates stems from a common basin, which, when it feels neglected or unhappy, is apt to switch sides. It takes political acumen and grassroots touch to realise what psychological and emotional turn-arounds are shaping up ordinary peoples’ minds in the far corners of the island. In that sense, the MSM or LP can survive tough times to re-emerge stronger if they perceive and hit the right wave cogently.
What of the MMM? Has it run out of steam, vigour and ideas after 45 years, of which the last 25 or so have been spent angling for power through strategic alliances with either the LP or the MSM? Were these elections the start of a slow decline for the elder generation who have been of every fight along those years? The performance of Ivan Collendavelloo in Berenger’s and Cuttaree’s backyard must be something of a shock to many.
There are obviously numerous angles for closer analysis over the coming days, but we can be satisfied that globally, despite the tidal wave, the elections were held fairly and squarely, with only the few minor squabbles and skirmishes that inevitably mar such national events.
What should matter now concerns the leadership that the MSM will provide to the country and whether the lessons of 2005 and 2014 will have been learnt. It has clearly benefited from staunch opposition to Electoral Reform in many community quarters and a reluctance to the power-sharing agreement that many in rural areas saw as far too generous to the MMM, and therefore a source of future instability for a governing LP-MMM duo, with or without Second Republic. The majority of the population have spoken and are satisfied with the virtues and constraints of the known Westminster model and probably, the amended Best Loser formula.
Its program or manifesto has been seen as far more in touch with numerous ordinary citizens concerns, ranging on a wide front of domains. They have been proactive on the ground and even far more agile on the Web and social networks and have successfully mustered support from many press quarters. To the opposing leadership duo, they offered a simpler choice of leadership, even if it would probably be SAJ’s last stint in office as incoming PM. It has managed to erase past images that still stuck around, about morality or attributed communal statements. Will it aim to reunite the community and the country after the scars of political campaigning?
* Published in print edition on 12 December 2014