Making words into action!
After 100 days in office for a newly elected U.S. president, the political execution capability is often measured by the performance and results achieved in this short period. Many countries have adopted this American “report card”, as has Norway. A new government must therefore hurry up to show vigor and meet expectations and promises made.
The excecution phase
100 days is not much time to do, so the government will have to select highly visible focus areas to demonstrate political power. Preferably some new initiatives that do not cost too much money. Space for action is severely limited in this first budget. Changes of rules, new instructions, new legislation or liquidation of such – can give a clear warning that new brushes are sweeping through the ministry offices. Such measures have often more political significance and a stronger impact on people’s daily lives than many additional funding can provide. This 4th phase can be named ‘the execution phase’.
The operational phase
But the great test of strength for a new coalition government is contained in the final and longest phase: The operational phase. This phase covers the time beyond the 100 days and to the end of the election period. This is the 5th phase.
This is the period of day-to-day policy where new political cases should be handled and put into practice every day, preferably with a clear political stamp. This is also the period when the crooked political issues show up unannounced in various ministries and require a fast, effective solution. But neither the government platform, the party program nor previous cases give particular guidance as to how to resolve many of those cases. Hopefully the coalition partners have managed to work out ways of good managing and cooperation procedures to secure a conclusion despite different views. But such procedure is demanding and requires flexibility and good interpersonal skills .
One thing is certain: if not each party in such a government can celebrate important political victories, the coalition will not work. But at the same time, each party must also prepare for some bitter defeats and disappointments. A coalition is a give-and-take business. The important thing is to be able to communicate to the electorates that the political account has a surplus: the importance of the political victories is after all more essential than the consequence of the political defeats.
To sum up by the French politician Aristide Briand who stated: to participate in a coalition government is having the right shoe on the left foot without getting blisters!
Phase 2: the Anchoring Phase