All parties to strengthen the gift of democracy
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.