IN A FEW DAYS, all the guessing and strategizing over momentum, regional gains and losses, and the effect of endorsements and press conferences will be over. The previous surveys using a miniscule sample (sometimes as small as 1,200 respondents) will be replaced by the actual voting population of 62 million. There will be no more undecided voters, only absentees. And the frontrunner in this case will be assuming office by the end of June.
Here are the possible reactions to the mandate of the people.
Given the history of elections, we do not expect any concession speeches — “The people have spoken, and we bow to their wisdom and retire to private life as we thank all those who supported us.” More likely there will be a protest lodged with allegations of cheating (“widespread” is the preferred adjective) and suppression of votes — the dead were not allowed to vote.
The winning camp will be in transition mode after a gracious acceptance speech (when most of the votes have been counted) — we reach out to all colors and unite today to work together for the good of the country we love. There will be 6,000 positions that need to be filled. The incumbent team (let’s not call them lame ducks) will roll out the red carpet, headed by the Secretary of Finance, and reach out to the winner’s transition team to propose the priorities that need to be attended to.
Campaign strategists and political analysts will descend on media and give their “20-20 hindsight perspective” on what happened and how the losers lost (that Easter press conference didn’t help) and how the winner won. They will imply that they were the ones who shifted the paradigm and tweaked the strategy for the winning formula — it’s not about what you are against but what you are for. Negative campaigning works only in the short term. And the trolls this time were not effective.
A speechwriting group is formed by the winner, maybe with transferees from other camps, excluding spokespersons whose profiles are too high to make a credible move. Past inaugural speeches are scanned for a slogan or a battle cry to adopt. Okay, “no more wang-wang” has been taken. So has the “New Society.”
As for the supporters, some CV’s will find their way to the desks of the transition team — (Can I be appointed as country director for ADB?) There is little modesty in these job applications. With hints of early support for the winner — I changed my wardrobe early for the preferred color. Chronology is important in declaring allegiance. (There were only five people in the room when I joined the volunteers.)
The frenzy of activities can be characterized as a migration pattern.
Like the Berlin Wall when it came down and pieces of it sold as souvenirs to tourists (such as me), the pieces sold could have been rebuilt to make a second even longer wall. And so too will the declared “supporters.” Of course, even the most high-profile members of the losing group such as governors and mayors that openly campaigned for the losing side will quickly change colors (literally) and turn their coats. Their motives are sincere — we want to unite behind the leader/winner. The country does not need to be divided. And so, the migration starts… and doesn’t stop.
And what about the true believers?
Not all supporters are on tiptoes, waiting to be kissed with an appointment. Some sincerely gave their time, talent, and treasure because they believed. And they may simply move back to their retirement or whatever they were doing before the campaigns started — like taking foreign trips and smelling the flowers.
Every election, especially for the top position changes the country for better or for worse.
The behavior and values of the newly elected leader are closely watched and become the personification of the country and how its citizens and even the world view it. It is the new brand in the global shelf of products.
Will the new leader be bringing out the best in us with values of simplicity, integrity, and a booming economy providing ease of doing business in this country?
She will not disappoint.
Tony Samson is chairman and CEO of TOUCH xda