Democracy is on the right path

Q&A: You have been at the helm of the election process for the last nine years. Where do you see democracy today?

Everything is picking up. Bhutan has already learnt a great deal. We are on the right path. Ten years in a nation’s history is too short, yet considerable progress has been made within this short time.

There have been proposals from some sections and even in the Parliament to amend the Election Act 2008. Should the Act be amended? 

A dynamic system should be so because there is dynamism in every aspect and parts. Accordingly, our laws should be dynamic too. Over the time many amendments will have to be there. However, it is too early to amend these, as there are no issues that have affected the functioning of democracy. An individual or a group not being satisfied is not good enough a basis unless it is that of a majority view.

You have overseen two governments elected during your tenure. Which of the two governments did you find more comfortable working with? 

As a constitutional entity, the Constitution has spelt the status and role and its limitation for the Election Commission. I found out as long as you have the Tsathrim (Constitution) as your support and respect it in both form and spirit, no government could find any cause to undermine its effectiveness.  Having said so, the present government has the experience of observing the functions of democratic government for one term. That helps us in dealing with the government more easier. In fact, the  Prime Minister in person assured that his government will listen to ECB as to the need for any amendment to be made on any electoral laws.

There were criticisms that the Thromde boundaries were rushed through the parliament. Please comment.

It is true and not true. It is true because it appears that the government had lesser time and not all were involved. It is not true because the issue is as old as the draft Tsathrim. People were aware that changes are likely. Parliamentarians have been in picture of the subject and issues. If politics were kept aside and egos were not allowed to take precedence, there were no stopping of consultative process amongst the public, parliamentarians and local government functionaries taking earlier. We observed that these had the better edge over the priorities for positive consideration of Thromdes.

During the 2013 general elections, DPT alleged that the ECB did not take action on complaints of violations of elections laws.

I have no comments as Election Commission is responsible for resolving election disputes during an election only, any post-election issues can be taken up with a court of law as election petition. If no case was taken to a court of law, it speaks for itself.

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