The honeymoon period of Mohamed Nasheed (Anni)'s new government is likely to be short. Expectations are high among supporters, while a bruised DRP is lying in ambush for its first opportunity to strike ahead of the Majlis elections in February. So the government will be hard pressed to show results, despite overwhelming challenges.
Finance Minister Jihad has said there will be a revenue shortfall of 2.4 billion within this year. While his claim that the government has not defaulted on salary payments is true, it is also equally true that many low level employees are suffering because of restrictions on overtime payments. Finance ministry sources say the revenue for 2009 is not expected to cross the 8 billon mark. This would leave very little for development projects. So the picture is not very rosy for fulfilling election promises, unless alternative sources of revenue are identified.
Independent institutions described in the new Constitution, such as Election Commission, Auditor General, Supreme Court, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Civil Services Commission are in various stages of infancy. They must be made fully functional and truly independent, in order to ensure that democracy takes root in the Maldives.
Strengthening the legal framework:
The Majlis faces a Herculean task in passing crucial legislation in several key areas such as local governance, penal code, political parties, university, pensions, health services, prison and parole etc. The task is all the more difficult because the ruling coalition does not command a majority in the Majlis. So the government will need all the diplomatic skills it can muster to ensure the smooth passage of laws through the Majlis.