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Bhutan Observer
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Welcome people’s choice
Editor, May 31, 2013
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The Bhutanese people have spoken their minds. Two older parties – DPT and PDP – have been elected. We welcome the people’s decision, and we welcome their choice – the two political parties that will determine the state of affairs in the next five years.

The losing parties have accepted the people’s verdict with honour and dignity worthy of respect. This is the way to go, the Bhutanese way. While we welcome the winning parties, we will keep counting on the losing parties for political leadership in the future. The two new parties have said they will look beyond 2013 elections and continue to strengthen themselves. This is the way to go.

Our responsibility to elect the right leaders does not end here, though. The general round of election on July 13, which is equally important, gives us an opportunity to choose the right candidates from the two parties. And in that election, we will have completed a most fateful democratic task that comes around only once in five years.

The four parties exchanged many sharply contrasting views on a number of issues during the run-up to the election. Not every step of the journey has been friendly. Now it’s time to leave behind those arguments and move on. The way ahead is more important.

Meanwhile, the two parties have won on the strength of their promises as much as their leadership charisma. Until now, it’s been all about the parties making promises and the confused people sorting through a heap of promises. The downside of promises is that they are often traded for votes. Could we now have the people demand promises from the parties? Could the parties stop promising more and listen to what people expect from them? The people know their needs best. And their needs may go beyond a salary raise for public servants, GNH, or helicopters.

In the run-up to the general election, we hope that the candidates will not confuse the voters with another round of promises. Party talks have so far left out some pressing national issues like rural-urban migration and food self-sufficiency because they will not translate into votes. We expect the parties to think beyond votes.

Except for a few unavoidable hitches, the election was smooth, fair, and peaceful. The wet weather did not deter most people from voting. Everything sailed smoothly because everybody took their responsibility seriously. This is the way to go, the Bhutanese way.

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