Despite electoral promises and the best of intentions, governments are severely restricted in the nature of new initiatives they are able to undertake. This is due to a combination of the following factors: secret compromise commitments made during the electoral process, binding commitments made by previous governments, and financial obligations incurred by previous governments. The binding commitments can take the form of contractual obligations (construction projects, staff contracts, etc), agreements with other countries (trade agreements, defence agreements, etc) and agreements with intergovernmental organizations. The financial obligations are associated with repayment of debt as a result of borrowing by previous governments.
Any single government's power is very much circumscribed by the needs and expectations of its neighbours, friends and enemies. Constraints are imposed by previous governments, the powers of local and regional authorities, the country's membership in international alliances and organizations, and the current state of relationships with neighbours.