A bright side to the primary results

After the 2013 general elections, there was much bitterness and anger among DPT supporters on losing.

Complicated by external developments in the form of LGP and kerosene prices increases there was an almost religious belief among DPT supporters that the 2013 elections were never fair or that the whole thing had been fixed.

The entire election machinery was questioned along with other agencies of the state.

Never mind that the facts on the ground showed that the elections were free and fair as vouched for by international observers and also that simple math in the primary round clearly indicated a vote for change.

DPT had made a mess of the economy by 2013 with the rupee crisis and credit crunch and there were loads of corruption cases to boot. It was no wonder that the voters wanted it out in 2013.

However, like its counterpart, PDP in 2008, DPT in 2013, lived up to the modern Bhutanese political tradition of being poor and sore losers.

For DPT supporters, and there were many, there was an air of martyrdom and simmering anger and resentment bubbling under the surface.

Before the 2018 primary round there were tall tales of how the election would be ‘fixed’ again and how postal ballots like in 2013 would work against DPT.

Ironically, not only did DPT win in the primary round but the difference was made by the postal votes which went its way by a huge margin compared to PDP.

After that suddenly DPT supporters started seeing the election process as being fair and a lot of anger and bitterness melted away.

Instead, the mighty PDP, which by all forecasts was supposed to form the government again in 2018, was knocked out in the primary round itself.

Here it must be said that the PDP President and the PDP party acquitted itself well and graciously accepted the results.

Given the close results, PDP could have chosen to be a poor and sore loser and raise all kinds of hell, but it broke with that unhealthy political tradition, and in doing so- set a good precedent.

In a democracy it is always much healthier for all energies to be exhaled or spent through the ballot box than through other means.

It is now hoped that DPT supporters realize that the system is not rigged or that there is no giant conspiracy against them.

DPT leaders here must show leadership and ensure that its vast political energy is used to unite and strengthen the nation and not divide it.

The general elections could go either way and it is hoped that both the winner and the loser will accept the results gracefully, and that all political parties, inside and outside Parliament, will work together to serve the Tsa Wa Sum.

Elections remind us not only of the rights but the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy.
Robert Kennedy

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