|Picture courtesy: BBS|
The nation went to the poll on April 23, 2013 and successfully managed to elect our representatives to the National Council at one go. And unlike in the past elections we have not heard of any accusations being thrown at elected leaders. This is a good sign of a clean process. It bodes well for the country.
And the other day (April 28, 2013) our beloved His Majesty in accordance with the Constitution issued a Royal Kasho (Decree) declaring the dates for the National Assembly election. Bhutan will have its first ever primary round of elections on May 31 while the general election will be conducted on July 13, 2013. Well, many Bhutanese especially farmers are aware of the general election, but the primary will be a new experience. In 2008 we just had two parties and there was no need to conduct the primary round, which elects two parties to contest in the general round. This year we have five political parties!
Five parties need 47 candidates (wow, that is like 235 candidates in total) to be eligible to take part in the primary round of the election according to the Election Commission of Bhutan. It is a mad race out there - parties hunting for candidates and people resigning from their jobs.
When a candidate joins a particular party (leaving behind his/her job) it is (I am sure) with conviction that he/she has something to offer to the nation and the constituency that he/she hails from. And I am sure many candidates do not see politics as another career option. After the primary round about 141 aspiring politicians (candidates from three political parties) would require to drop from the race. Only 94 candidates can compete in the general election.
Recently I was going through an article in one of the papers and came across the topic of "horse trading". This is a situation where candidates, whose parties lose in the primary round, join the winning two parties and get a ticket to contest in the general round. While some politicians say that there is no law against political horse trading, I think it has no place in Bhutanese politics. Although there maybe no specific laws against such practices ECB made it clear that the political parties need to declare 47 candidates before the primary round. And that should take care of it in the first place. But if parties still go ahead with horse trading - then it reflects well on their own candidates. This shows that parties are not confident of their people. It also shows the level of candidates' commitment to the political cause. It is clear then that candidates who hop from one party to another overnight do not really care about their party ideologies. It will also be evidently clear then that these candidates are only aiming for power. Our (much wiser this time around) electorate will be cautious of such candidates whose motive it is to gain power and pelf for himself/herself.
If some candidates are used merely to win the primary election is it fair for these candidates who leave everything behind to join the parties? And I think these candidates should sue their parties for duping them thus. But again that would be the last thing we would expect in a harmonious society.
But I think we will have a great election ahead. This confidence springs from our recent National Council elections. Our voters are much more educated in the process than they appear to be. They understand who deserves their votes. And they will choose only the BEST. May the best win!