In the heart of our democratic process lies a ritual that, in theory, should illuminate the visions and plans of the nation’s political hopefuls. However, the live debates among the candidates from Bhutan’s five political parties have emerged as more of a farce and a show, leaving voters in a state of confusion rather than enlightenment.

The essence of any electoral debate lies in its ability to serve as a platform for candidates to articulate their visions and plans, presenting a clear roadmap for the electorate. Yet, Bhutan’s current debate format, constrained by brevity, seems to do more harm than good. A mere snapshot of time, these debates force candidates to distil their comprehensive plans into bite-sized morsels, leaving viewers with superficial insights at best.

The truncated nature of these debates undermines the very foundation of informed decision-making. Citizens, the ultimate arbiters of a nation’s fate, find themselves grappling with the homogeneity of ideas as all parties sound eerily similar within the limited time frame. The essence of diversity in political thought, a cornerstone of a thriving democracy, becomes a casualty of this time-constrained spectacle.

In our diverse society, where perspectives and priorities vary across regions and demographics, the current debate format fails to capture the nuanced approaches that each party might bring to the table. Viewers are left yearning for a more in-depth exploration of the candidates’ stances on critical issues, be it economic policies, social reforms, or environmental sustainability.

The brevity of these debates also puts undue pressure on candidates to resort to soundbites and catchphrases rather than engaging in substantive discussions. Complex issues demand nuanced solutions, yet the rapid-fire nature of the debates discourages the depth of discourse needed to comprehend the intricacies of proposed policies.

Bhutanese voters deserve more than fleeting glimpses into the potential leaders’ minds; they deserve a thorough understanding of the ideologies shaping the nation’s future.

The confusion that ensues from these whirlwind debates extends beyond the polling booths. In the absence of substantial differentiators among the parties, voters are left questioning the authenticity of the political process itself. The risk of apathy looms large when citizens perceive their choices as variations of the same theme, contributing to a disillusioned electorate that may disengage from the democratic process altogether.

Allowing candidates more time to present their ideas, engage in meaningful exchanges, and delve into the specifics of their plans could foster a more informed electorate. A series of focused, issue-based debates, each dedicated to a specific aspect of governance, could replace the current whirlwind format and provide a more comprehensive understanding of each party’s vision.