Six parties will contest in the 2013 elections and it will be a multi-party democracy for Bhutan, unlike the currently lopsided ruling and the diminutive opposition.
This is the word on the streets from the men and women on the streets. It’s a version that is largely endorsed by many, though all of us may recall the events that warmed up to the doorsteps of the big elections in 2008.
The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT), Druk Mitsher Tshogpa (DMT) and Bhutan Kuengyam Party (BKP).
That’s the grand line-up for the next big one.
Minus the four new entries, everyone should recall that the line-up was pretty grand even back then when PDP instantly after its announcement displayed impressive horsepower, roping-in candidates; one potential aspirant after another.
DPT a merger of Bhutan People’s United Party (BPUP) and the All people’s Party (APP) joined the game late but impressed everyone with the big five in its folds.
The five former ministers inclusive of PM Jigmi Y. Thinley, finance minister Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu, economic affairs minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, foreign minister Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering, works and human settlement minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba made up for what PDP achieved in its early start to hook all the potential people.
At present we have equally competitive aspiring parties vying for 2013 elections, none with the magic or prominence of visible stalwarts like the incumbents.
Nonetheless, the end is nigh, and a twist in the tale is not commonplace for this institution. History is witness to it.
First thing first, the wannabes have to get themselves registered with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) as bonafide players.
And that is where eyeballs started to roll that maybe it could end up as a possible replay of the 2008 big show. Dearth of candidates, unavailability of candidates for President… etc.
It’s quite simple the way ECB has laid it down vis a vis chief election commissioner’s words – “any political party that is registered with the commission can submit a Letter of Intent to contest in the parliamentary elections”.
However, the current aspiring parties show more steam and zest to have arrived as a union and to take it in the same fashion till the end (if they reach the end), unlike those who merged, never registered etc. back then.
On this front, the ECB Chief said it is premature to make any judgment at this stage.
“We need to be very careful in accepting at face value any group or person as a political party. The mere making of a statement or a loud expression, supposedly as a political party, cannot be taken as a reliable basis to form a judgment or conclusion.”
Those were his words.
Presently Bhutan’s aspiring parties show no signs to let-up other than the occasional shot at ‘dearth of candidates for party president’.
With that, perhaps we will have multi-party elections in 2013 and eventually a multi-party democracy, hopefully.