Bridging gaps between the ECB and political parties

Internal Funding for political parties and the need for state funding  were the hot topics of discussion in the three-day workshop under the ongoing process of Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Election (BRIDGE) held for  existing amd newly registered political parties in Paro from March 19 by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).

Twenty five participants registered for the workshop including from the the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, People’s Democratic Party, Druk Mitsher Tshogpa and so on.

“The funds generated from registration, membership fees and volunteer contribution is barely enough to run the office,” said an aspiring politician.

Some of the participants were of the opinion that political parties should be allowed to take shares and bonds if there is no other source of funding.

The needs of chiwog coordinators was deemed   unnecessary for the parties when they are already running short of  funds.

But this was again contradicted by some participants who  feel that almost 80% of voters  livein the rural areas and if there  are no coordinators among them, a fair and free voting system would be forfeited.

The expert of BRIDGE, Mr. Brain Latham, made it clear that BRIDGE is a neutral  apolitical organization, which cannot push anything other than  submit its report to the ECB for the review.

Gyembo Tshetey, the co-author of “Drukyul Decides” said that the good thing aboutthe Election Commission is that if anyone proposes anything in writing then it accepts it. Hence, he added that people or politicians can come together and submit their proposals.

Mr. Brain Latham and Ms. Beatrice are two experts who are coordinating this workshop along with chief training coordinator Kinley.

Kinley said that through this workshop, ECB wants to play an important role in helping the political parties in managing themselves and build good relations between  the commission and the parties so that it becomes easier for both to work with each other during the elections.

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