In 2008, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) swept 45 out of 47 seats in the National Assembly. It was a historic election not only because DPT was the first democratically elected government but also because of the margin by which they came to the political helm.
The PDP (People’s Democratic Party) also made to the record books for having the smallest opposition in the world. In an environment where numbers do matter, the party boldly accepted the two seats to remind the Bhutanese populace that the PDP as a political party would continue to exist and come back huge when it comes. The party declared that they would fulfill the role of a good opposition. True to their words, the two members made their presence felt in the parliament.
And now the tables are turned. PDP has won 32 to 15.
What good and bad happened in the five years under DPT and to which party one must align is best left to the individual’s choice. Yet, it may not be totally wrong to assume that for the major chunk of farmers who neither have time nor luxury to keep abreast of the political changes, the best choice was to vote for the party their city-dwelling cousins and relatives chose for them. We can safely say that the electorate this time was to a large extent influenced by the literate city dwellers travelling to rural areas during the time of voting as was the case in 2008.
Or we could also assume that the voters are more educated now and they voted for the right person without even thinking about the party or party leadership. There are as many women representatives as there were in 2008. It would be interesting to reflect on what they collectively achieved in the last five years and what we could expect in the coming years, especially at a time when we talking about gender issues and the possibility of quota system for women.
With the election over, some are thrilled with the election results while others are contemplating on what went wrong and why the party they supported lost. While the bureaucracy, business community and the media may have already made speculations about what it would be like to work under the PDP, the general public will go about their lives thinking about how they could improve their livelihood amid rising fuel price and frozen loans, and hoping that the promises made by PDP see the clear light of day.
We have hopes for the new government. We hope that the PDP will take our country much further from where DPT has left, if it can, or keep us in good stead as the DPT has done for the last five years, if it cannot. If 45 seats gave DPT a sense of strength of having too many teeth to bite around, PDP with 32 will have the right bite.
Whichever party comes to power, we must be positive about it. Our democracy is only five years old. In the end, every party aims at bringing gains to all of us by framing effective laws and legislations, keeping aside regionalism and politics and making our institution more cohesive.
For now it seems PDP is in for the right bite. How right we will have to wait and see.