Bhutan Democracy Dialogue launched
To provide a common platform and build greater understanding amongst the political parties and stakeholders, thereby contributing towards more harmonious political environment and vibrant democracy. Bhutan as the youngest democracy, the partnership will make a significant impact on the broader democratic dynamics of the country. In addition, it will also support development of political institutions, including leadership capacity and skills of members of political parties and to provide a forum for facilitating, nurturing and strengthening democracy in Bhutan besides supporting and promoting engagement, cooperation and partnerships be- tween political parties and stakeholders
With the above objective the Bhutan Democracy Dialogue a multiparty association of five political parties was launched on Friday at the Royal Banquet hall with a mission to facilitate, nurture and strengthen democracy in Bhutan. The dialogue with the slogan - Bhutanese first, is described as a “turning point” in Bhutan’s democracy as parties are now working together on a common platform, functioning as a “neutral space” for parties to collaborate and to build a democratic culture.
At the launch, Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said that the association will work together on issues of national concern. He urged the parties to consider ways to consolidate and to go beyond what he described as being” ego serving entities”.
The main objective is to support and promote vibrant democracy in the country; build human and institutional capacity of the political parties to strengthen and nurture the Bhutanese democracy; and support and promote engagement, cooperation and partnership between political parties and relevant stakeholders. Over the next few years, to ensure development of political institutions, systems and culture of political parties and to be able to engage in meaningful activities that would promote a healthy democratic culture, the Dialogue will be carrying out series of activities.
The five registered po- litical parties of Bhutan established the Bhutan Democracy Dialogue with the signing of the Charter for Bhutan Democracy Dialogue (BDD) with the Election Commission of Bhutan, on 14th of November 2014.
Bhutan Democracy Dialogue will be guided by a steering committee comprising of two representatives each from the registered political parties and the election commission of Bhutan. The initiative will work under a steering committee, headed by a Chair who shall be elected biannually by the members. The committee in its first meeting held on 24th of November 2014 elected Aum Lily Wangchuk, the President of Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, as the first Chair who shall head the steering committee for the first 6 months.
The members of the committee will meet quarterly to propose, review and approve work plan, budget and activities of Bhutan Democracy dialogue and additional meetings will be held if deemed necessary that would help in promoting a culture of dialogue and cooperation among political parties, and to build leadership in party members.
With the support from Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy, the dialogue has drawn out various programs for 2015 and 2016 which includes the joining with the nation in the celebration of the sixtieth birth anniversary of His Majesty the Druk Gyal
Zhipa and will initiate and support democracy festival in collaboration with relevant partners which will thereafter become an annual event. The festival which will be dedicated to His Majesty as the main architect of the Bhutanese Democracy will become an annual event involving political parties, CSOs and media.
With a mission to support and promote vibrant democracy in the coun- try, Bhutan Democracy Dialogue will also carry out activities to celebrate the Democracy Day and Constitution Day.
In order to strengthen the institution of the political parties as a viable institution, the initiative will also support human and institutional capacity building initiatives of political parties. Support and promote engagement, cooperation and partnerships between political parties and support and promote engagement between political parties and relevant stakeholders. This will not only greatly enhance dialogue and better understanding between political parties but also with related stakeholders.
The chairperson of the Bhutan Democracy Dialogue Aum Lily Wangchhuk said the country’s small-knit society was divided along the party lines in the last two elections and that Bhutan has experienced, in varying degrees, the ills of democracy.
“We believe political cooperation through inter-party dialogue is an important cornerstone for effective and sustainable democracy, conflict prevention and peacebuilding and regaining public’s confidence in the democratic system.”
Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck graced the launch of Bhutan Democracy Dialogue as the chief guest. The function was attended by Prime Minister, cabinet’s ministers, members of the political parties and members from the Bhutan Democracy Dialogue.
With the coinciding of the 60th Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Bhutan Democracy Dialogue is dedicated to the Father of Democratic Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck.