Accepting the results of the democratic will
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has deservedly earned the mandate to govern Bhutan and the Bhutanese people for the next five years.
The party’s win in 30 of the total 47 constituencies in the general round of the third parliamentary elections on Thursday is a confirmation of the people’s faith and trust in the party. The people have given their verdict. The choice has been made. DNT has been chosen to form Bhutan’s third democratically elected government.
Assumption and doubts have also been finally put to rest now. The results are out, which basically reflect or indicate a desire for change. We first saw this when voters delivered a surprise verdict and ousted the incumbent’s People’s Democratic Party on September 15 this year.
It again happened this time when DNT, which had wins in 16 constituencies in the primaries, went on to win 30 constituencies. DPT on the other hand won only from 17 constituencies against the 22 wins in the primaries. DPT lost five constituencies although they won from these constituencies in the primaries – two constituencies of Radi-Sakteng and Thrimshingkangpara in Trashigang, Monggar constituency, Paro’s Lamgong-Wangchag constituency and Samtse’ Dophuchen-Tading constituency.
The elections this time was a successful one going by the number of voters, who had come forward to exercise their fundamental responsibility. The voter turnout in the general round of elections was 71.46 percent, an increase of about five percent compared to the primaries. Voter turnout during the primaries was 66.36 percent, an increase of 12 percent from the 2013 NA primary round.
Further, the elections this time saw a majority of women political candidates being elected. Out of 10 women candidates in 2008, four were elected and three women candidates out of 11 made it to the National Assembly in 2013. However, Bhutan elected seven women candidates this time. It’s a big win for women politicians and heartening that more women are chosen in elected positions to frame policies and regulations concerning them and children.
It’s also heartening to see the conduct exhibited by both the party presidents after the elections. DPT president Pema Gyamtsho posted on his Facebook page that they humbly accept the choice of the people and there was no reason to be disheartened for not winning. At the same time, DNT president Lotay Tshering reportedly maintained that they remain committed to serving the nation to the best of their abilities and that he looked forward to working with the other 46 candidates who were also elected.
Such mature conducts are an aspect of the kind of political culture that needs to be brought about in the country. We must understand that democracy is not just a way to win power. Democracy’s strength is not just shown in whether a winner surfaces, but whether the losers accept their defeat with good grace. It involves accepting the results of the democratic will and we must respect that.