Voters are counting down the days to the primary round of elections. They are excited to go vote for their choice of parties and candidates. Though the choices vary from person to person, their expectations are pretty-much the same.
The voters that this paper spoke with say they are search of a government that is fair and can be trusted. Many say the victory of any party is of no consequence to them because what matters the most, is electing someone who is helpful and works toward achieving the nation’s goal of Gross National Happiness.
“There are always new hopes and expectations with new people taking the responsibilities. Though our expectations from government are many, we expect it to keep the promises they made, at least some of them,” Tashi Dhendup from Bumthang said.
Ap Gyeltshen, 59, from Paro said, “It will be second time that I am casting my vote to elect a person who will govern our region. I hope 2013 elections will bring a set of people who will govern and lead our country more efficiently. This time, with more choices, we can select the best out of the best.”
A 30-year-old teacher in Mongar, Tashi said that 2013 elections have given voters an opportunity to club all the capable persons within four parties. He said that a lot of potential candidates are beginning to make their debut, and that itself is the sign of change and improvement in a young democratic country like Bhutan.
“I should say Bhutan is headed toward a better change. We do have lots of expectations from our government, but at a surface level, we want government to look into the current problems and then narrow the gap between the ‘haves’ and `have-nots’,” said Tashi.
Passang Tshering, 52, from Paro said, “Since I am a simple farmer, I don’t have much knowledge about politics. All that I know is, this time we are left with more choices compared to 2008. People are expecting more from the 2013 elections – better government, better development, and better democracy with zero corruption.”
An MBBS student from Sri Lanka Loday Zangmo, 22, said, “In 2008, I didn’t get to vote, since I was not eligible. But of course, I want our government’s good motive, to whom we can trust fully, and who creates no question marks in our head.”
Tshering Lhamo, 24, who has recently graduated from a college in India, said she is lucky to have had the chance to participate in electing the government her choice from the day the country became a constitutional monarchy.
“My vote goes for the party who I think can form a good government without any corruption. No one can change my decision, not even my parents,” she added.
A group of college students who are on vacation said they won’t miss the chance to vote and make the right decision.
“This time we are going to vote, as well as witness, who wins the 2013 elections. We will vote for a person who is capable and can benefit our country and people,” said one of the students,” they added.
Unlike the motivated bunch above, some members of the youth population are still undecided, and some did not even vote in the 2008 elections.
Talking to Tshewang (name changed on request), a corporate employee said, “We know the value and power of a single vote, but some of us just feel that politicians promise many things during campaigns, but the fact is we need to struggle our own share as usual, and their promises makes no sense for us.”
Damchoe / Thimphu