Challenges within for Mahinda
Probably the main challenge now for the new president elect Mahinda Rajapakse would be to bring harmony within his coalition.
The coalition was put together just before the election campaign. There are communists and the liberal left who believe in devolving power to solve the ethnic war in one side, and the Nationalist JVP and the Buddhist monk party who are against any concessions towards the Tamils on the other.
Agreement with the JVP
In the agreement which was hastily signed just before the elections, the Prime Minister had agreed to re-negotiate the peace process or to amend the ceasefire agreement.
According to the pledge, he also agrees to rethink of the role played by the Norwegians as the facilitators.
On the economic front, the Prime Minister had agreed to reject the "neo liberalist open economy" to build a strong "National Economy", and reverse the processes of privatisation of Electricity, Petroleum distribution, Port, Airports, State Banks and other public institutions.
It is the Economy
Such economic policies will bring Sri Lanka in to direct conflict with the World Bank recommendations. It will be a difficult task to go against the tide for a country which heavily depends on foreign aid.
With these pressures, Mahinda Rajapakse have to be careful not to become a hostage of his own allies.
On the other hand, Mahinda Rajapakse is one of the most experienced politicians in the country. he had come through difficult times and internal rivalries in his party had not been a new experience for the Prime Minister. He had always managed to come on top at the end of it.
Experiance of sailing through
Although there are many speculations about the future of the peace process, but it would be difficult to drastically change the peace process or, revert back to war.
The Prime Minister had always said that he will initiate peace talks again although his allies want the Tamil Tigers to lay down arms before any new negotiations. Building the trust between his regime and the Tamil Tigers would be a challaenging task.
But, in the past, Tamil Tigers had agreed to negotiate with leaders with different political leanings. With the current international pressures towards peace and development aid tied to the peace process, it would be difficult to take a hard line on the issue or go back on the agreements already reached.