Chief Advisor and Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk

Interim Government to ensure free and fair elections

During the first press conference by the interim government, the Chief Advisor and Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk clarified on the popular perception amongst the general public that the interim government which has been formed to function for 90 days is not important.

He said that the interim government is very important to ensure efficient service delivery and also ensure free and fair elections.

“Moreover the interim government advisors not only have to shoulder their chief leadership roles in their respective capacities but also have to carry the dual responsibility as the interim government advisors,” said Dasho Tshering Wangchuk.

The advisors were not allocated ministries based on their prior experience or interest because of the fear that having worked in that ministry, some might get involved in micro management and bureaucracy might be rubbed the wrong way which will then create problem for the interim government, said the Chief advisor. “Therefore, we have selected and appointed advisors to different ministries with the reason that they’ll get something new to learn.”

The Chief Advisor said that the functions of the advisors are the broad oversight of the functioning of the ministries and the interim government are not entitled to take any policy decisions.

“Should there be an unavoidable event that would require taking policy decisions; we have advised the respective secretaries to appraise the interim government. We hope that the ministries will continue to render quick and efficient services to the people,” he said.

As a Chief Advisor, he said that one of the key responsibilities of the interim government is to ensure free and fair conduct of the election. The interim government is expected to shortly issue instructions to the government agencies and institutions that the apolitical institutions must remain apolitical in the election.

“We would like to request government officials to curtail travelling unless it is absolutely necessary. It is also to ensure that there is no disharmony or conflict in the community post election. Whichever government comes into power, the bureaucracy must have the ability to transfer its loyalty,” said the Chief Advisor.

He also advised the civil servants to refrain from going to conventions or other political gathering and instead make use of the media to get to know about the political developments or read the manifestos or pledges of the parties in order to make an informed decision.

He said that everyone must fulfill their responsibility as a citizen; therefore, he urged media houses to engage in free and fair reporting by providing equal opportunities to all the parties and ensure that the level playing field is not distorted.

The Chief Advisor also shared his greatest concern- misuse of social media, especially for political reasons by creating anonymous account and engaging in mudslinging and smear campaigns. He therefore urges every citizen, including the politician to use the social media platform judiciously and refrain from indulging in unhealthy practices.

“As far as participation in the election is concerned, we have requested all the civil servants to vote and similarly I would like to request the people of Bhutan to participate in the election. We should be mindful that it is the citizens who vote and not residents and it is important that we have a government of the majority in power. The biggest risk I see for our way of life, Constitutional Democratic Monarchy, is apathy and indifference of the people. We need to change the mindsets of the people,” he said,

“We need to participate intelligently and purposefully in elections. Inclusive democracy demands the participation of the people,” added the Chief Advisor.

He said that everywhere in the world, the percentage of voter participation has been falling but Bhutan, he said is fortunate to have set high standards. “However, setting standards is easy but I think maintaining the standards are very important and media has important role to ensure a free and fair election by giving equal coverage to the political parties.”

The Chief Advisor expressed his gratitude to His Majesty The King for instituting the interim government and bestowing trust in all the advisors and pledged to work towards fulfilling His Majesty’s aspiration and serving the people with unfailing loyalty.

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