Tomorrow there will be a clear-cut winner in Presidential Election 2008 –and a loser. What they do in the next few days, weeks and months will impact not just democracy in the Maldives, but the entire future of the country. How magnanimous will the winner be and how gracious the loser?
The Maldives faces grave economic threats and pressing social issues like drugs, crime and housing shortage. Solving these problems will require sincere bipartisan support. Such cooperation depends a lot on the winner as the head of a responsive government and the loser as the head of a responsible opposition.
The past few months have seen an unprecedented level of mutual recrimination and mudslinging from all sides. Healing hurt feelings and bruised egos will not be easy, but imperative nevertheless. As Martin-Luther King Junior said, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Despite the acrimonious campaigns of the past weeks, multi-party democracy is here to stay. For most Maldivians, going back to the party-less days of 'wahudhath', where dissent was equated with rebellion, is simply not an option.
As a nation we have sacrificed so much for reform. Let all sides work together to realize this dream for the sake of our future.