As we enter into the final stages of the 2018 general elections, we are confident that our voters would have given a serious thought about the implications of their choice, both at the local and national levels.

Our voters, after attending several meetings, would have looked at and assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates in their demkhongs and the party presidents who were on a marathon tour of the villages. 

With only a day left before the poll day, it is important to remind voters to exercise their franchise in the national interest without falling prey to the ambitious, the power-hungry, or the scrupulous self-centered individuals. The right to vote is sacred and it should transcend individual or group interests. It should be for the benefit of the nation.

The Bhutanese are bestowed with the right to choose and govern themselves. Even as we gear for the third parliamentary elections, the reluctant Bhutanese, who embraced democracy at the behest of our beloved monarchs have, over the past 10 years, realised the profundity, the genuineness and deliberate plan to empower the people as the true custodians and the ultimate guardians of security, sovereignty and continued well-being of our country.

This wonderful gift of democracy from the Golden Throne to the Bhutanese should be nurtured and navigated at our own pace and time. A carefully engineered and distinct modernisation of the nation over a century by our beloved Druk Gyalpos must be treasured, cherished and valued for generations by the Bhutanese.

Democracy, in that perspective, is a means to achieve the visions of our beloved monarchs. Amidst heated debate and flying accusations, our political parties acknowledge the impermanence of political parties and the importance of the Institution of the monarchy.

One potential threat that could derail this process, our democracy, is coming from social media. In an attempt to reinforce or poison the minds of readers or listeners, social media is used increasingly to spread slanderous anonymous personalised posts, fake news and vindictive audio clips. It is providing a forum for hate and to malign individual, communities and institutions. What we cannot afford today, in our nascent democracy, is shortcuts to achieve short-term gains.

As you vote tomorrow, recall the sacred words of wisdom and guidance emanated from the Druk Gyalpo over the last 10 years to lay a strong foundation to our democracy and exercise your franchise meaningfully for the well-being of the Tsawa Sum.