Bhutan Observer
LifestyleAP Tsara
A solemn event
Ap Tsara, July 17, 2013

Wai! We’re done with another successful election. Yesterday’s election was, by all standards, successful. It was peaceful, smooth, and well organised, not to mention it was free and fair. Except for a few alcohol-related problems here and there, the voters took the polls seriously, so seriously that most of them looked solemn.

Some foreign journalists covering the election were taken aback by the calm and peace on the streets and at the polling stations. Everything was so calm and quietly ceremonious that they said they missed the “excitement” associated with elections elsewhere. For them, the election without any violence and controversy wouldn’t make a sensational story to their audience used to exciting election stories. But for some, the lack of excitement made a cute little story.

Lack of excitement observed by foreigners is a compliment to the way we do things, rather than inactivity. We have shown the world how an election can be conducted peacefully and seriously. For the Bhutanese, an election means business, a solemn one at that.

The election may not have made big headlines in the international media, but that is also a compliment. Most elections make international headlines for all the wrong reasons – violence, vote rigging, controversies, and mobs going out of control. So, less attention from the international media can be interpreted as a positive thing.

For all the heated arguments and negative campaigning, there’s much that we can be proud of. A foreign journalist remarked, “Why are the policemen standing at the polling stations? They don’t have any work.” This remark is relevant only to Bhutan.