Bhutanese politics

As 18th October approaches, it is really anyone’s game in the contest between the DNT and DPT.

However, whoever wins the contest, it will be of utmost importance for both the political parties to work together to unite the nation and the people.

The three NA elections so far have shown that election time in Bhutan is usually a very divisive process and that Bhutanese politics is highly polarizing.

At one level it has to do with the smallness of Bhutanese society, and at another level it has to do with the nature of politics in Bhutan.

We may have the most well behaved MPs in the world with the best decorum and speaking order in Parliament, but election time shows that our politics can get as venomous as any of our neighbors.

There is great importance placed on winning at all costs and losing is not seen as an option.

At one level it is strange to see why political parties are so worked up about winning.

Political governance in Bhutan is an onerous task with limited resources and very high expectations from the voters. It is more a responsibility than a privilege.

There is not much scope for mistakes and any mistake can have major and immediate implications on a small country and economy.

Also, given our developmental priorities and stage of development, whichever party comes to power will have to do largely similar things.

Governance in Bhutan is a team effort and especially so in our democratic era. No elected government can have a successful and productive tenure without taking along the various stakeholders all the way from the private sector to autonomous institutions.

The smallness of the Bhutanese state and society ensures that nobody can afford to not like each other for long as everybody is an important cog in a larger wheel.

Once political parties realize that the political stakes are not as high as we imagine them to b,e and that we all need each other, then perhaps we can have calmer elections.

Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.
Victor Pinchuk

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