All par­ties to strengthen the gift of democ­racy

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

To build strong democ­racy, Bhutan Democ­racy Di­a­logue ( BDD) brings all the reg­is­tered po­lit­i­cal par­ties to pro­mote and strengthen Bhutanese democ­racy as ‘Bhutanese first’ on 22 De­cem­ber in Thim­phu.

Democ­ra­cies can­not func­tion with­out the ex­is­tence of po­lit­i­cal party. Po­lit­i­cal par­ties per­form an im­por­tant task in the gov­ern­ment to pro­mote sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Demo­cratic com­pe­ti­tion in the po­lit­i­cal arena should mo­ti­vate po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to prom­ise bet­ter pub­lic ser­vices and more ef­fi­cient gov­ern­ment.

The con­fer­ence brings together all po­lit­i­cal par­ties, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Na­tional Coun­cil and Na­tional Assem­bly, me­dia and rel­e­vant Civil So­ci­ety Or­ga­ni­za­tions to re­flect on the state of the democ­racy. The con­fer­ence ‘ All party con­fer­ence’ is an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect, and share and learn from each other. They bring peo­ple together to achieve con­trol of the gov­ern­ment, de­velop poli­cies fa­vor­able to their in­ter­est.

It is also ex­pected to achieve ma­ture demo­cratic cul­ture and to pro­mote vi­brant democ­racy where po­lit­i­cal par­ties can en­gage in di­a­logue, build co­op­er­a­tion and part­ner­ship in the in­ter­est of plac­ing ‘ Bhutan First’.

BDD en­ables to pre­vent the na­tion from be­ing di­vided along party lines by en­sur­ing that par­ties place na­tional in­ter­ests be­fore in­di­vid­ual party in­ter­ests. In his open­ing state­ment, the chair of BDD, Sonam Jatso said was to put na­tional in­ter­est be­fore party in­ter­est. “Dur­ing elec­tions, com­pe­ti­tion is in­evitable and it’s the only way we can elect a gov­ern­ment of the peo­ple and by the peo­ple,” he said, “But af­ter the elec­tions, we must all come together as one na­tion-and put

the in­ter­est of our na­tion first.”

It is also to en­cour­age po­lit­i­cal par­ties to work together and take a com­mon po­si­tion on is­sues, which will fur­ther help con­sol­i­date Bhutanese democ­racy and deepen demo­cratic cul­ture. Sonam Jatso said, “It pro­vides op­por­tu­nity for us to dis­cuss and find so­lu­tions to our com­mon prob­lems and is­sues.”

Sonam Jasho also said that BDD can play an im­por­tant role in mak­ing Bhutanese democ­racy one of the finest in the world. He said that un­der the en­light­ened guid­ance of our king, “We have the rare op­por­tu­nity to make our democ­racy one of the best in the world.”

Be­sides, a panel dis­cus­sion with se­nior re­porters of ma­jor me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions was held to dis­cuss about how me­dia can play an im­por­tant role in strength­en­ing and deep­en­ing democ­racy in en­sur­ing the suc­cess­ful con­duct of the next ma­jor elec­tion in 2018. The rep­re­sen­ta­tives and mem­bers from all the five reg­is­tered party shared their goal, aims and ob­jec­tives.

BDD aims at the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB) to work together to strengthen and deepen democ­racy in mak­ing democ­racy vi­brant, re­spon­si­ble and har­mo­nious. It is set to func­tion as a neu­tral space for po­lit­i­cal par­ties to ad­dress the col­lec­tive in­ter­est of par- ties, wherein, keep­ing the peo­ple will first for the ben­e­fit of the coun­try.

The five reg­is­tered po­lit­i­cal par­ties of Bhutan set up the BDD with the sign­ing of a Char­ter for BDD with the ECB in Novem­ber 2014. The con­cept of BDD sur­faced af­ter a joint- party study trip to Den­mark, which was sup­ported by the Dan­ish In­sti­tute of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties ( DIPD) in June 2013.

BDD is an ini­tia­tive con­cep­tu­al­ized jointly by all the reg­is­tered po­lit­i­cal Par­ties as a fo­rum for fa­cil­i­tat­ing, nur­tur­ing and strength­en­ing of the Democ­racy in Bhutan. It is guided by a steer­ing com­mit­tee com­pris­ing of two rep­re­sen­ta­tives each from the reg­is­tered Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties and ECB.

BDD has drawn out var­i­ous pro­grams for 2015 and 2017, with sup­port from DIPD. The con­fer­ence saw par­tic­i­pants from po­lit­i­cal par­ties, civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions and the me­dia.

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