MIAN Shahbaz Sharif's swearing in as Punjab Chief Minister on Monday would end the stopgap arrangement and the inefficiencies that inevitably attend indirect management of the sort necessitated by political exigencies. Among the challenges he would face is an altogether different balance of power with the centre compared to his previous tenure. Unlike 1997-99, when the PML-N controlled both the centre and Punjab with a big mandate, it is now a part of the PPP-led federal government, while in Punjab it depends on the PPP to remain in power. Mian Shahbaz would thus be required to display much greater flexibility and accommodation than was needed during his previous tenure. The working of the coalition in Punjab had been far from smooth from the beginning. First, the PPP complained that the agreed formula of power-sharing was not being implemented and its ministers were being ignored or bypassed. Later the PML-N reacted with hostility to the appointment of the new Governor. It remains to be seen how Mian Shahbaz manages to lead the coalition comprising two parties with a long history of rivalry as an effective team. While the PML-N is committed to support the movement for the restoration of deposed judges, which is supported by groups with divergent views, and with Punjab as its storm centre, Mian Shahbaz has to ensure that it does not in any way destabilize the newly elected government. On Thursday Mian Shahbaz promised to initiate a new era of development and progress in Punjab. The stopgap arrangement, along with the transfers of government officials on an unprecedented scale, had created uncertain conditions leading among other things to a reduction of confidence among international donor agencies. As a result an amount of Rs 28 billion that had been promised for different projects has reportedly been withheld. Hopefully important policy decisions would not be delayed any longer. The policies of the previous government need to be reviewed dispassionately. One expects the new CM to ensure that positive initiatives taken by his predecessors are carried on without prejudice. Mian Shahbaz Sharif has promised to respect the PPP's mandate at the federal level and hoped that a similar attitude would be adopted towards the PML-N-led government in Punjab. In order to sustain democracy and fulfil people's expectations there is a need on the part of the ruling coalition to stay together. Unless it does so, there is little chance for it to complete its tenure. One hopes the federal government would reciprocate Mian Shahbaz's sentiments to make the ongoing experiment of coexistence between two archrivals a success. It always takes two to tango.