It has been disturbing few days for the Bhutanese as Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and its supporters contested the conduct of the general election and submitted 15 election-related grievances to His Majesty the King. The DPT supporters gathered in Thimphu to take stock of their electoral defeat had a few points to make, but they were far too angry to put them across succinctly.
Nevertheless, some points such as civil servants politicising national issues came out clearly. We trust that the Election Commission will address the grievances in a most amicable manner and set good precedents. It is crucial that the government and opposition come together in Parliament and not bear simmering resentment against each other.
A point to note is that when the political parties fail to or refuse to come together, the nation is divided in halves. That is why, we have seen and heard in the last few days usually cordial people spitting venom at one another. It is nowhere else more clearly visible than on social media, where some people have gone anonymous and mad. We hope that somewhere down the line we can find good reasons to agree and move on. Our society is too small to be divided into political camps.
And finding reassurance in His Majesty’s command, the DPT has decided to take on the role of the opposition with a new leader. Dr Pema Gyamtsho becoming the opposition leader signals the DPT’s change of leadership. Knowing that senior DPT leaders – former prime minister and ministers – will be too old for politics in 2018, we can start gauging leadership capabilities in the new breed of DPT MPs led by Dr Pema Gyamtsho.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party is all set to form the government. It is more exciting to look forward to a new set of leaders who have a long political career ahead of them. Young politicians are more likely to try to win the confidence of the people than older ones for several obvious reasons. And this is good for Bhutan.
This time around, we will have a government with ambitious development plans and a strong opposition. We are looking forward to exciting times ahead of us.