The conventional political punditry these days places the current PDP government as a strong contender for the 2018 elections.
This has nothing to do with the party being the incumbent government which, in fact, is a disadvantage- given the high level of anti-incumbency in Bhutanese politics.
The party and its leadership in 2013 was not only a change in personalities, but also a generational change- being much younger than the DPT leaders preceding them.
While the party leadership and members were relatively inexperienced- this became a blessing in disguise as the PDP government approached issues with a fresh perspective and focus and did not come with any ‘old habits’.
Early on, the new PDP government got two priorities very clear- based on lessons learnt from the two big mistakes of the DPT government of 2008-2013.
The first was the lesson on the economy given the disaster years of 2012 and 2013 when Bhutan was hit hard with a rupee crisis and credit crunch that lead to a 2.1 percent GDP growth in 2013.
The second priority was to avoid any of the scams and controversies that plagued DPT.
The PDP government in the last five years has largely been able to keep its focus on the two areas.
Bhutan’s economy is the strongest suit that PDP currently wears. This is visible in the economic indicators generated by various agencies, autonomous bodies and also international institutions.
However, the real strength of PDP’s economic performance is not in terms of sitting pretty with praise from some international financial institute or economists over its GDP growth rates or other indicators, but working to resolve real and everyday economic issues that affect ordinary people.
Nobody is saying PDP has brought about an economic revolution, but it has got a lot of the basics right and made ordinary lives easier.
On the good governance front- the biggest achievement for the PDP government is not being caught in any major corruption scams or controversies which plagued DPT during its time in power.
This is not by accident, but by design, where a real zero tolerance of corruption policy has been implemented right from the Prime Minister’s office.
In that sense the last State of the Nation Report, which encapsulates the current government’s various achievements on the 11th plan through facts and figures, is its own reward for keeping its eyes on the ball.
“In politics, it often pays to be ahead of the curve.”