India’s Mandate for Reform by the People

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May 18 – India’s voters have returned the Congress Party to power in the national Lok Sabha elections in a stunning result that also saw Dr. Manmohan Singh returned as an elected prime minister for the first time by any Indian prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.

The result further endorses, and strengthens, the existing Congress Party in power, and opens the way for further economic and legal reform in the country. Narrowly missing out on a first majority government since 1990, the Congress Party nonetheless won enough seats to effectively run a government with a much reduced coalition burden, meaning many of the reforms required to strengthen India’s growth and development are not only set to continue, but to do so at an accelerated pace.

The vote represents a strong show of support for the incumbent government; including Congress Party head Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Singh, and his high profile team of ministers including Home Minister P. Chidambaram, and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath. It is also notable for introducing to the public the rising political star Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi’s son, apparently ensuring the succession of an already well entrenched political dynasty. Following nearly twenty years of awkward deal-making governments, it now appears the Congress Party have done enough amidst the on-going coalition squabbling to convince voters that it should have a proper mandate to govern, without major interference in doing so from India’s numerous minority parties.

The head of the main opposition party the BJP, L.K. Advani, is understood to have resigned his position. Much touted as a future prime minister, and indeed, forecast to be so by Google astrologists, he now leaves a party in tatters.

The Congress Party has the rare luxury of choosing from a small group of allied political parties who it intends to form a coalition government with. Final decisions of who will make up the new cabinet will be made during this week.

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