Friday, January 23, 2009

Moving Bangladesh-India relations: Reviving Gujral Doctrine is the key

Published in The Daily Star, January 24, 2009

THE Indian Foreign Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee is going to be the first high profile foreign visitor to Bangladesh when he arrives in Dhaka as a Special Envoy of the Indian Prime Minister on February 8th. India has figured high in this government's priorities. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has spoken of the need for jointly tackling militancy and terrorism which, the Foreign Minister has resonated. The Minister for Water Resources has also spoken of the need to reactivate the Joint River Commission. The Indian High Commissioner is also making his Ministerial rounds harping upon the need for closer Bangladesh-India cooperation. Clearly, intent from both governments for improvement of bilateral relations is obvious.

Both countries have significant stakes for developing and sustaining friendly bilateral relations. Bangladesh's stakes are fundamental to her existence based on geopolitics and history. As an agricultural country, almost all the rivers that are her lifeline either originate in or flow through India. Bangladesh thus needs India to give her water sharing rights under international law as a lower riparian. Bangladesh has great economic potentials in the Bay of Bengal that is rich in sea resources and hydrocarbons but her ability to exploit these resources is in a spanner due to India's conflicting claims. There are also other serious issues related to trade imbalance, land boundary demarcation, etc. that make it extremely important for Bangladesh to be friendly with India. Then there is also the reason of history embedded in the fact that India extended assistance to Bangladesh in 1971 that impels Bangladesh to seek out India as a friend.

India's stakes in friendly relations are also significant and lie in a land transit from the Indian mainland to the seven eastern provinces or Seven Sisters that Bangladesh cuts into two that could lead to great economic benefit for these provinces and the use of Chittagong port that could also propel significant economic development there. In recent times, with militancy and terrorism getting worse in India, where security situation in her eastern provinces is extremely fragile, India is in desperate need of Bangladesh's assistance to win her war on terror. In fact, in the wake of the Mumbai carnage of November last year, the need to fight the war on terror has become the first item in India's agenda vis-à-vis Bangladesh.

Bangladesh-India relations have not developed for mutual benefit due to mutual mistrust, the stakes notwithstanding. Depending upon which side one takes, blame could be apportioned on the other for their not-so-friendly relations. The mistrust on Bangladesh's side has developed from India's denial to grant her share of waters of the common rivers law and demarcating her maritime boundary in accordance with international law. India has also not kept her commitment under the India-Mujib Agreement on land border. There is also a generally held view in Bangladesh that India is a physical threat, a fact often asserted in the common mind by the frequent shooting deaths in the border by the BSF of India. The bottom line of this negative perception is that Bangladesh feels that India is conscious of her role as a regional power but insensitive about her responsibilities to her neighbours. India feels that Bangladesh has not always conducted her foreign relations keeping India's interests in focus. This ill-feeling has enhanced further in the Indian mind because she has played a major role in Bangladesh's liberation struggle during which she has also looked after ten million refugees from Bangladesh who had fled to India to escape the Pakistani genocide. India also has serious security concerns arising from her belief that Bangladesh allows her territory to be used as sanctuary by Indian militants. India is also unhappy because Bangladesh has not reacted favorably to her requests for land transit and use of Chittagong port. Bangladesh had also earlier turned down India's request for purchase of gas, an issue no longer relevant.

The stars of Bangladesh-India relations are beginning to align correctly for a paradigm shift for the better as a result of change of both internal and external environment. However to achieve the shift, both sides must show political will. India must acknowledge that Bangladesh's claims on water sharing and the maritime boundary are based on international law and are crucial to her viability as a nation. Bangladesh must acknowledge that India's major requests, namely the land transit together with use of Chittagong port and security concerns are issues that Bangladesh must accept for long-term friendship with India although India's claims and requests are not of the same merit as her claims.

The India factor or an anti-India bias did not play any role in the December 29th elections that has sent the AL to power with such a humungous majority. But then, it would be un-wise to think that the India factor has gone. It has just receded into the background because other important issues such as the agenda of corruption under the BNP and trial of war criminals had captivated the attention of the voters. The India-factor could very well come into play strongly unless the two sides pay attention to sensitivities of the people of Bangladesh in trying to move relations ahead. In this context, the comments that the Indian High Commissioner have made on the Ganges water sharing agreement and land transit may not help improvement of bilateral relations. The High Commissioner's suggestion of transit and use of Chittagong port are issues of economics and connectivity, and Bangladesh will make money out of it. However, to stress that transit is not a political issue would give wrong signal to Bangladeshis who believe that India must not be given land transit unless she shows the political will to give Bangladesh her legitimate share of water from the common rivers and flexibility and accommodation on other outstanding issues. As for his view about depleting availability of water in the Ganges, the position is that as an upper riparian India has treaty obligations under the 1996 agreement to ensure that Bangladesh's share as the lower riparian never fell below 90% of the agreed quantum.

The India-factor should be kept in focus by Bangladesh before making any concessions; India must likewise take note of it before seeking any concession from Bangladesh when the two sides discuss bilateral issues during Mr. Pranab Mukherjee' visit. A revival of the Gujral Doctrine could work like magic here and could set the stage where outstanding issues of Bangladesh-India relations could be resolved or at least have a fair chance of resolution. The first principle of the five-point Gujral Doctrine was that with neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, India would not seek reciprocity but would give and accommodate what it can on good faith and trust. India must adopt a similar stance for long-term friendly relations. A start in that direction could be made by the Indian Foreign Minister by acceding to Bangladesh's maritime claims that should not be very difficult considering that this would mean India giving only a very small portion of her total territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal. For Bangladesh, this would mean a very great deal. It could also be any other outstanding issues upon which India could show that she is willing to accede without reciprocity. This could create confidence in Bangladesh to move ahead on terrorism and militancy to start with, and then slowly move towards transit and use of Chittagong port with India relenting on the water sharing issues where even Nepal and Bhutan could be brought into the loop to exploit the vast and rich potential of the rivers in the sub-region.

The ball is now in India's court. The peace dividends here are immense for both sides. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has acted wisely in speaking out positively on the issues of militancy and maritime boundary and it is now up to India to show the political will needed to shake Sheikh Hasina's hand. Bangladesh is a politically conscious nation where politics is moving towards maturity. India can settle her security concerns as well as transit need but she must first act responsively on Bangladesh's concerns regarding water sharing, maritime boundary and trade deficit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Medieval Carnage in Modern Times

Published in The Daily Star, January 17, 2009

Bangladesh's Permanent Representative in Geneva described the recent and continuing Israeli military operations in Gaza “medieval carnage in modern times” in a special session of the UN Human Rights Council called to discuss the continued massacre of Gazans, including women and children, by the Israeli armed forces. Voices of condemnation of Israel's actions have resonated round the world but to no avail as Israel seems hell bent to annihilate Hamas' ability in future to launch rocket strikes inside Israeli territory no matter what it takes.

Israel and Hamas had been observing a tenuous six months long cease fire brokered by the Egyptians in July last year. In a debate similar to which came first, the chicken or the egg, Israel and Hamas have accused each other for breaking the cease fire which in any case had ended on December 19th with little hope of being extended. Hamas blamed Israel for not lifting the blockade of Gaza while Israel blamed Hamas for rocket attacks inside Israel. In fact, under the leadership of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel used the lull in fighting since July last year to draw a well thought out plan to take out Hamas' ability to launch rocket attacks on Israeli cities permanently. Two dates were uppermost in the minds of the Israeli leadership in launching its current onslaught on Gaza that has been named Operation Cast Lead. First, Israel needed to complete the task under President Bush's watch, which is ending on January 20th, because during his entire tenure his administration has given Israel a blank cheque to resolve the Palestinian problem militarily. Second, the Israeli Government wanted to take out Hamas' rocket-launching ability for good ahead of elections in Israel scheduled next month.

There is another reason for the Gaza carnage. Hamas has been branded a “terrorist organization“ by Israel as it does not recognize the state of Israel and has been fighting the Israeli occupation by all means available. In accusing Hamas, a pro-Israel international press has not acknowledged the fact that Hamas militants have been fighting for freedom of their motherland from foreign occupation. Furthermore, in 2006, they also won a democratic parliamentary election in Palestine but they have not been allowed a share of power because Israel, supported by the US, made it impossible for Hamas parliamentarians to take their legitimate seats in the Palestinian parliament that forced them to capture power in Gaza. In recent times, Hamas has been signaling that it wanted diplomatic settlement of the conflict along the border June 1967, which has international consensus behind it. This would however mean dismantling of Israeli settlements in occupied lands as well as giving part of Jerusalem to the independent state of Palestine that Israelis do not want under any circumstances. Israel is concerned that a new US administration would find it difficult to reject a PLO/Hamas joint effort for diplomatic solution along the 1967 border and with this apprehension in mind, Operation Cast Lead has been initiated, not for creating “deterrence” to Hamas' rocket launching abilities but for dismantling Hamas for good.

The Israeli carnage in Gaza has been ferocious and inhuman in terms of slaughter of innocent civilians and the worst onslaught on Palestinians on record. In the name of drawing out Hamas militants and their military abilities Israelis have bombed schools, mosques and hospitals that are recognized as safe under all international conventions related to military engagements on the plea that Hamas has used these as “human shields”. Israel has also used white phosphorous on civilians in violation of 1980 Geneva Treaty. The carnage has so far resulted in over 900 deaths on the Palestinian side, including over 200 children. On the Israeli side, only 13 have been killed, including 4 from “friendly fire”.

The Israelis have argued that they have dropped leaflets warning Gazans not to allow Hamas militants use them, their houses, their schools, etc for launching rockets into Israel and to flee to avoid Israeli reprisal in case they cannot help it. Of course, Israel's arguments are extremely weak and do not stand up to any rational analysis. Gaza is a small strip of 360 square miles where 1.5 million people live, surrounded by Israel on all sides except for a small part on the south where it borders Egypt, which too is under strict Israeli surveillance. Gaza has an opening to the sea on the west but that too, including her airspace, is controlled by the Israelis. Hence to say that they have asked Gazans to flee from Hamas is like causing an injury and then spreading salt on it. The Israelis have carried their military attacks in full knowledge that they would be killing innocent people but still they went ahead as their intention is to terrorize Gazans to submission. The conflict can thus only be described as one of David against Goliath and has rightly been condemned all around the world, including from many Jewish groups. The Gaza carnage has graphically highlighted the hell in which 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5 million Palestinians in West Bank live as a direct consequence of Israel's occupation. In the West Bank Israelis have built a wall to keep them in conditions worse than jail.

At the UN, the outrage of the world did not have much impact. The Security Council adopted a toothless resolution that has been rejected by Israel with contempt, and by Hamas as it made them appear aggressors whereas they feel they are the victims. President-elect Barak Obama, whom the world has begun to accept as a harbinger of a new era of morality and rationality to international politics after his predecessor had turned the world on its head, has disappointed many by his inability to condemn Israel. Those who had considered his overtly pro-Israel stand in the period leading to the November 4th elections as an act of necessity to appease the Jewish lobby in USA for its stranglehold on media and finance are now concerned and dismayed that his sympathies may be for real. There is also little hope for Palestinians to look towards the next US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband President Bill Clinton had shown quite a degree of fairness towards the Palestinians, for some support because her foreign policy adviser is former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk who holds extremely pro-Israel views and is among those mentioned as a potential Special Envoy to the Middle East.

President-elect Obama's silence over the Gaza carnage has also sent wrong signals to the Arab world, most importantly to Egypt and Jordan. Countries that have supported rapprochement with Israel to bring the Palestinian problem to a peaceful solution that has the best chance of resolution based on a two-state solution, an independent Palestine co-existing with Israel. Egypt fears that she will be forced to absorb Gazans on her borders while Jordan fears Israel will push Palestinians from West bank to create a similar situation for her that could undermine their peace treaties with Israel with dangerous consequences. The mood of the ordinary folks in the Arab streets has been enraged by the Gaza carnage. Thus when Barak Obama sits in the Oval Office for the first time, the ground reality in the Middle East would be a very difficult one for him to seriously seek a resolution of the Palestinian conflict upon which the success or failure of the war on terror rests to a large extent.

Bangladesh's Permanent Representative has hit the nail in the coffin with his statement at the Council for Human Rights. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also condemned the Israeli atrocities in strong terms. Will those who matter in world politics, the US in particular, pay heed? If not, dark days could be ahead for the way Israel has been allowed to carry out its carnage in Gaza unabated is bound to provide steam to those who look for a cause to carry out acts of terror and militancy in the name of Islam.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bangladesh's proposal for joint initiative to fight terrorism

Published in The Daily Star, January 11, 2009

The victory of the Awami League has been hailed worldwide as a victory of secular forces over fundamentalism. While this is a partial explanation of an unbelievable victory, it will nevertheless give the new administration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina international recognition that could be crucial for success of her Government for making Bangladesh a Muslim majority country with liberal traditions. External support, particularly of Bangladesh's development partners would be extremely important for translating to reality the massive electoral promises of the AL. In this context the image that the elections has created would be very helpful.

Closer to home, India has been elated at the AL's resounding victory. Sheikh Hasina has been warmly congratulated by the Indian Prime Minister. Sonia Gandhi has spoken with her on telephone. The enthusiasm in New Delhi will be even more important for Bangladesh than the positive vive that the news has caused in other world capitals. The reasons are obvious. First, Bangladesh is situated literally inside the belly of India. Second, almost all her rivers that provide the lifeline for her people whose major occupation is agriculture flow from India. Finally, Bangladesh has been restrained from exploring unhindered for hydrocarbons in the Bay of Bengal because her maritime boundary with India is un-demarcated. These factors, among others, make it imperative for Bangladesh's sustained development and well-being to have friendly relations with India. Unfortunately, during 5 years of BNP rule, Bangladesh-India relations have regressed while during the caretaker government, bilateral relations have remained stalled.

While the AL's resounding victory has been welcomed enthusiastically in New Delhi, it is Sheikh Hasina's statement that she would not allow Bangladesh's soil to be used by any terror groups and that she would like a joint task force to be established with India to fight terrorism that has been music to the ears of the Indian leaders. Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said this is “positive” news while BJP leader LK Advani better articulated the Indian viewpoint in a letter to Sheikh Hasina in which he wrote: “The people of India are delighted to read …your categorical statement that your government will not allow the territory of Bangladesh to be used by terrorists and extremist organizations.”

The AL assumes office at a time when the international situation is vastly different from what it was when the party was in power the last time from 1996 to 2001. In between, 9/11 has dramatically changed world politics. First, fighting terrorism and militancy has become the major focus of governments all over the world including India that has been at the receiving end of the misfortunes from such acts. As President Bush hands power to President-elect Barak Obama, the war on terror that he led and fought militarily is now expected to be dealt more through the non-military channels where the new US administration would be seeking partners worldwide. Second, India has since emerged in a very effective manner upon the world scene where it is now the accepted regional leader. During this term of AL, India will have great influence in world politics and it will thus be in Bangladesh's interest to have friendly relations with her.

These are realities that the foreign affairs team of the new Government must focus upon for the future of Bangladesh. One issue that has emerged from the December 29th elections is that the so-called “India factor” had no impact upon voters' choice of parties. The record number of voters has voted on substance such as economics, good governance, trial of war criminals and democracy. In the past, the “India factor” has restrained Bangladeshi politicians in dealing with India objectively because it has been a factor in elections. India, on her part, did not render much encouragement either to the people of Bangladesh towards friendly relations with her by disdainfully scorning Bangladesh's legitimate claims on a wide range of bilateral issues.

LK Advani has put Bangladesh-India relations in perspective by stating categorically that it is not an option but an “indispensible necessity” in his letter to Sheikh Hasina. It is now up to the Indian Government to demonstrate how “indispensible” these relations are by the way they reciprocate to the positive move made by Sheikh Hasina. India's prospects of evolving into a major economic powerhouse on a world scale will depend to a large extent on successfully containing terrorism and militancy that has been recently spreading all over the country. In this context, the area that borders Bangladesh, India's northeast, has been particularly vulnerable. Just after the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November last year, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram made specific accusations in Parliament that insurgent groups operating in northeast India, including ULFA, have sanctuaries in Bangladesh. Indian Government has in addition also accused Bangladesh Government for permitting Pakistan's ISI to assist the terrorists in India's northeast from inside Bangladesh. Bangladesh government has always denied these accusations. Militancy and terrorism does not serve anyone's purpose for these militants, their initial motives for terrorists acts notwithstanding, often become Frankensteins and their actions in the end affect everyone adversely. Sheikh Hasina's foreign policy aides must now open discussions with their Indian counterparts to, first, remove Indian doubt that Bangladesh has been aiding Indian separatists, and then, to jointly fight this menace so that militants on either side are exposed and brought under the purview of the law.

For sustainable improvement of relations, India of course has the major role to play. India could now show her goodwill on a wide range of unresolved bilateral issues while officials on both sides work out the modalities of the joint task force and build upon the positive move of Sheikh Hasina. Take for example the un-demarcated maritime boundary issue. In a recent seminar organized by the Daily Star on this issue, participants were unanimous that Bangladesh's future lay in her territorial waters where India's counter claims have put a spanner. The Seminar established the fact hitherto little known in Bangladesh that the extent of the area that has been causing problems for Bangladesh with India is but a very small percentage of latter's total territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal. However, the nature of India's claims, supported by Myanmar, is such that it would take away from Bangladesh a major part of her legal claims in the Bay of Bengal, an area that is presumed to be very rich in unexploited hydrocarbons. Although it is difficult yet to assume how India would deal with Bangladesh after her move on the security issue, it may not be very unrealistic to expect that India would demonstrate the political will to resolve the issue of the maritime boundary by taking on board Bangladesh's claims that are both fair and legal.

In fact, it does not have to be the maritime issue upon which India could begin its reciprocal gesture. India could make it on a wide range of other outstanding issues such as water sharing, trade imbalance, etc. where it has denied Bangladesh a fair treatment due to lack of political will on her part. India's reciprocal gesture must nevertheless come quickly because although the “India factor” did not play any role in the elections, there is a perception in Bangladesh that India is not quite as fair a neighbour to Bangladesh as it should have been. It needs two to tango. Sheikh Hasina's move on fighting militancy jointly has set the stage. It is now India's turn to reciprocate beginning with demonstration of political will for resolution of any one of the major outstanding issues that in turn could create the positive environment for dealing with other outstanding bilateral issues on both sides and in the process revive the 1971 spirit. If India fails to match Bangladesh's move in a major way, then the political will shown by Sheikh Hasina's offer could vanish quickly and AL led Government could be left stranded with the blame for being soft on India and the so-called “India factor” could be re-established again.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Some strategic choices for the Awami League

Published in The Daily Star, Saturday, January 3, 2009

WHEN I called a friend whose brother was winning a seat easily with an Awami League (AL) ticket on Election Day, his voice appeared tense. That surprised me. When I inquired why he was tense, he told me that he was worried because the AL was winning much more handsomely and decisively than he had expected in the height of pre-election optimism. He said that would burden the party with expectations from the people that the AL may not be able to fulfill.

My friend's concern is well based for this is an election result for which the AL is not prepared. This will put a lot more pressure on the need to deliver. This is 1971 all over again. In 1971 it was freedom upon which the people cast their faith in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Awami League. This time the message is as focused and intense; a need to rid governance of corruption and make genuine efforts to achieve the dreams of 1971 in terms of freedom and democracy, where those who committed crimes against humanity are punished.

The history of massive election victories in South Asia is not a good one and the one given to the BNP in 2001 must be a stark reminder to the AL that must now make a number of strategic choices to reverse the trend of history. The AL's strategic choices could be made simpler by reflecting on the mistakes made by the BNP in 2001 and avoiding those. The commentary by the editor of Daily Star that appeared on 30th “You will reap as you sow” and similar commentaries/articles in other newspapers could be useful for reflection. Among strategic choices, the AL must take heed that new cabinet must not be the elephant that the BNP created. The Cabinet must be much smaller. The number of Ministers in the US and Japanese Governments could provide useful guide. The new generation provided a powerful impetus to the AL's landslide victory. In choosing the Cabinet, the representatives of the new generation must be given an important share in the Cabinet.

The way the new Prime Minister organizes her office will be as important as choosing a manageable cabinet. In the past, all elected governments laid emphasis upon party in choosing those who were given places at the PMO with the BNP extending this to an extent where the PMO became captive to the party. It is time for the future of Bangladesh to distinguish very clearly that the interests of the party that forms the government cannot take precedence over the interests of the government. In the 1960s, the Congress was faced with this problem and at one time, sent out senior Ministers in the cabinet of Jahwarlal Nehru to the party under the “Kamraj Plan” to balance between the interests of the party and the government. The plan met with failure and the senior Ministers returned to Government. In India, the ruling party has been kept carefully and diligently outside governance ever since. The same is the practice now in all parliamentary systems. This allows the Government not just to be bipartisan but more importantly, also to appear as such.

Such an approach will also help the AL Government tackle the politicization of the bureaucracy that has affected good governance under all the past three elected governments, much more so under the last BNP government. The AL will be inheriting a bureaucracy that is, to put it very mildly, a very weak one. In the past two years the caretaker government succeeded in making it even weaker. Years of indifference to the civil bureaucracy are responsible for the current poor shape of the bureaucracy. The new government will not be able to improve it overnight, perhaps not even during its entire tenure. The new government will have to look into this matter with the seriousness it deserves. Still there is a need to do something immediate to bring this very important institution on the rails, for without an effective civil bureaucracy the new government will find it extremely difficult to bring to fruition many of the expectations of the people. It may therefore be wise for the new government to appoint on contract in key senior government positions such as the Principal Secretary to the PM bureaucrats who have retired from service but still very active and quite capable of serving the country. A percentage of senior positions may be set aside for such appointments as is done under the US system. This suggestion may meet natural resistance from the members of the civil bureaucracy with which many reading this piece may also agree. However, under existing rules, a percentage of posts at the level of Secretary is set aside that the President has the power to fill at his discretion. In the past, this rule has been misused and officers have been promoted from Deputy Secretary to Secretary for political reasons. This rule can now be used, with necessary adjustments, to make appointments at senior positions on contracts from capable retired bureaucrats on a bipartisan basis if possible and qualified expatriates may also be considered for these positions.

In electing the AL, the people of Bangladesh have cast their votes for change similar to the way the voters in the US have done with Senator Obama. Already the US President-elect has set into motion changes that have caught the imagination of the rest of the world. His emphasis on bipartisanship to build the image of USA that took a battering under the neo-cons by taking an example out of President Abraham Lincoln, who, by putting the country's interest first, brought to his Cabinet his bitterest political enemies, could be used by the AL in a limited way in spheres of governance. More important, the new US President would be seeking worldwide partners in dealing with the upsurge of international terrorism and militancy. The new government in Bangladesh is coming to office with clear and unequivocal stand on Islamic fundamentalism by standing firmly on secularism. This message, together with good governance and positive steps towards democratization should be spread through diplomatic channels to Bangladesh's development partners including the USA. That way Bangladesh could fit to the recent positive changes in international affairs like hand in the glove that in turn would make the statement of the US Ambassador in a seminar in Washington prophetic. The Ambassador had said: "There will be no more transformational election in the world this year than the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 29 in Bangladesh”. The Bangladesh voters have set that stage for the new Government to transform Bangladesh in which foreign affairs will play a crucial role in Bangladesh's transformation. The liberal image of Bangladesh must now be made crucial in the country's foreign policy for in an age of globalization, that image will open for Bangladesh more market access for her exports, increased export of manpower and foreign direct investment that are crucial for her sustained economic development.

The new government must thus adopt a paradigm shift in handling foreign affairs and handle it more professionally than has been done under past governments. Towards that, it must choose a Foreign Minister with the intellectual competence to deliver. In the new administration, the Foreign Ministry and the PMO must develop a line of communication where the new Prime Minister must play her role in the process. Foreign affairs must not be left with the PMO to be handled at the level of bureaucrats without the ability or the understanding of issues as it has been in the past.

Rabindranath Tagore had said “we are nearest to the great when we are great in humility”. This quote of the great man holds the key for Bangladesh's future if only the AL takes this message to heart. One is encouraged to hope that this time; the AL will show the nation what it takes to transform a dream from what Sheikh Hasina told her supporters when she became aware of her party's historic victory. She urged them for calm. It is this calm she must show over the next five years to translate the voters' unequivocal verdict on December 29th.