Bhutan is a highly oral-society and in that word travels fast. And the word becomes news so soon that the facts are at times stripped of core ingredients.
Proof of statement: Various mediums have been citing that Bhutan is already a multi- party democracy, but in reality there are only two political parties.
According to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Bhutan was a multi-party democracy with two political parties in the National Assembly in Parliament and as of now, in its record it has just two registered parties, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).
In the legal sense, the four new parties cannot be termed as political parties until it registers with the ECB.
The ECB stated that they (the new parties) were only group of persons showing their interest to form political parties and a group will be recognized as a political party only when it has formally declared itself in public as a political party, and it has been duly registered as one with the Election Commission of Bhutan.
Once registered, it could begin to enjoy rights and receive privileges as a legal entity and as a political party under the laws.
The Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, any political party that is registered with the commission can submit a Letter of Intent to contest in the parliamentary elections.
And it would be allowed to contest an election if the ECB finds their Letter of Intent in order including a tentative list of candidates that it may field in the general election.
Since more groups are coming forward, the ECB is happy about the fact that more political parties will help in providing more choices for the electorates. The commission said it welcomes the registration of more political parties.
However, there are advantages and disadvantages of having more parties, the ECB stated that although more parties would mean extra financial burden to the State to finance election campaign, but, at the same time, it would heighten competitiveness and dynamism in the Bhutanese political culture.
“Above all the electorate will have more choices,” said Dasho Kunzang Wangdi.
The activity and inactivity warming-up toward the elections of 2008 was pretty much a repeat telecast of the activities in the political sphere this year; a similar picture of developments toward a multi-party approach. In the end there was only PDP and there was DPT.
Will it be a déjà vu for the nation in the upcoming elections?
On this front, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said it is premature for the ECB 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,” said Dasho Kunzang. Wangdi.
The Chief Election Commissioner said that media covering their statement and expression is contributing to confusion in the minds of the general public. Therefore, he said the ECB urged the media to be more cautious in giving voice to any group that makes a statement as political parties, without verification of their credentials as a legitimate entity.