Voting intelligently in 2013

Bhutanese audiences are being bombed on a daily basis with information and pledges by aspiring candidates, political parties, party workers, etc.

The platform being used is the media, social media, informal campaigning by party workers, and ultimately as the D-Day approaches it will culminate in face to face debates in the media and repetitive speeches in hundreds of zomdus across the country.

Political parties will fight to capture the hearts and minds of Bhutanese voters, first in the primary race between the five parties followed by the final General Elections between the two shortlisted parties.

Everybody has their favorites or dark horses but as in any healthy democracy the final decision will be made at the polling booth.

However, in the meantime political parties and candidates of all hues will try and convince the voters in various ways that they are the best choice to lead the country by appealing to both the hearts and minds of voters.

The troubling track record in many developing countries in the past few decades is that people have been voting less with their mind and more with their heart. Politicians in these countries gifted with consummate political skills have the uncanny knack of pulling at the heartstrings of their voters, making party workers go mad with frenzied support and even make mass audiences weep or laugh at will.

As numerous examples have shown the same politicians who talk of the highest ideals and big promises run corrupt and inefficient governments in these countries when in power. Even then they come back to power again as they repeat the spectacular political drama during the elections. In some cases they have become virtual lifelong dictators endorsed every five years or pass on political power to their children and grand children. This has resulted in decades of broken promises and societies.

However, of late a growing regional and global trend is impatience and awareness against this type of politics mainly due to a more youthful, educated and aware demography.

As a result governments and political parties across the world including in developing countries are changing tact and focusing more on development and transparency and less on the old tricks of the game.

Bhutan which is firmly a member of the global community and affected by globalization, good or bad, is also impacted by this new wave in global politics that asks for more transparency and accountability from its leaders.

Though Bhutan may have been a latecomer to modern democracy, nevertheless, it has arrived in an organized manner, and as so often has been proven in the past it is a quick learner.

Though with a gap of just 5 years from the 2008 elections the rules of the game in the 2013 elections will be entirely different as voters have become more aware and also want more.

However, given our ground reality of a largely illiterate and in many ways rural electorate all parties and candidates, for the sake of a healthy democracy, have to appeal more to the mind and less to the heart.

It is also here that the average Bhutanese voter has to make a sound choice for the future course of the nation.

The choice for the Bhutanese electorate is either to choose going through painful decades of what other developing countries have gone through by going with their heart, or instead apply their minds and make informed choices.

Politicians of any party may make voters weep, laugh and even instill the fear of God in them to win but these are all emotions and cannot be counted on for a healthy democracy or a government that is accountable.

As Bhutanese voters we have to make the choice of whether we want to be treated as mature and thinking voters or ones that can be brainwashed once every five years and also in between.

Bhutanese voters, to make an informed choice, should open their eyes and ears and take a good hard look at the situation around them, their community and in the nation. They should develop a healthy level of cynicism and be able to filter the gold nuggets of truth from the mountains of rubble that is being thrown their way.

The choice for Bhutan in 2013 is a stark one. While it is true that we are testing out politicians, but at the same time politicians will also be studying and testing Bhutanese voters to see what their level of awareness or gullibility is.

As shown in the Anti Corruption Commission’s election television advertisement (warning against voting for corrupt candidates) the consequences of a wrong choice will have a direct impact not only on the nation but also on the quality of our lives.

 

“It is my theory that when the people can outwit the leader, the more respected their voices will be.”
Criss Jami

 

 

Check Also

Bhutan’s Afghan Lessons

Bhutanese citizens along with the rest of the world has been watching the disaster unfolding …

16 comments

  1. More than what politician says, people should not just believe in whatever media says. Like any other human being, media too is manned by humans who has greed, political motive and personal issues with political parties and candidates. There are media houses who are writing consistently against one or other party thinking that even if lies are told thousand times, people may believe! So, we should not be fooled by such media. We should make our own assessment of party and individual candidates and then vote accordingly.

  2. I as a voter would like to see new party coming to run the government. We definitely party who can save the country from vicious cycle of corruptions and mis-managements.

  3. Unlike Zopla, Mr. karma has motives! you vote to your choice of party, others will choose their own parties. Please be apolitical mr. karma.

  4. @wisdom You seems to guess correctely. How do you know, can you give me some clues to guess correctly-However, I will tell you later about my job!!

  5. Just when they thought a chance had passed
    Cause there was a time to serve Tas – Wa – Sum
    They fooled & fooling the people around
    It’s not the way we hoped & voted
    But somehow it’s enough
    Luckily five yrs term ended
    Finally the Samsara of corruption founded by our mighty gang DPT has to come down
    Bhutan deserves better than this
    Got to vote intelligently

    • I think our poet here is going to be sorely disappointed when the DPT wins in a landslide all over again. Post 2013 elections, I wonder type of a poem our resident poet is going to come up with.

  6. I am going to vote, are you coming also?

  7. yes zamin, we do not have to have phd to do that!

  8. The underlying message from this tabloid is that voting intelligently is not voting DPT.

  9. Ai, Zamin dagni, whether one is DNT, PDP,DCT,BKP or DPT why should you bother. This message is for Mr. Wisdom also mey.

  10. I am not worried that DPT will lose the election. My worry is that the DPT may win from every constituency and hence depriving any seat for opposition in the parliament. I hope DNT or any new party win at least 10 seats for a useful opposition.   I am not against PDP but i love Dasho Damcho. If PDP lose, i will miss Dasho Damcho and luckily many capable former PDP candidates have joined DNT. I am happy that DNT has revealed 42 candidates so far. Only few more to go.  Some of us may not be happy after election as majority will win but i am ready to accept it. 

  11. Yea some of the media try to fool people by making unnecessary allegation against people for their deeds of both past and present. I am wondering why some media house is targeting such useless activities rather than focusing on many current important issues. I know people are not that fool to listen useless allegations against leaders and policy makers who are trying their best in the interest of the Bhutanese people and their well-being. I wish any Government who ever comes in power can come up a strong law to fix media house if their report is not for the benefit of the entire society but for some personal gains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *