With less than a year and a half left for the National Assembly elections, political parties are moving their forces on the ground.

One more party entered the fray after the Election Commission officially registered Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa yesterday.

Party representatives are calling potential candidates with offers. A few even claimed “you can make money”. We have seen worse during the elections in the past. But we also know that our parties can do better. Our good fortune has been that there is no dearth of guidance.

Democracy is a timeless process in our collective endeavour to build a peaceful and prosperous nation. It is the foundation of peace and tranquillity and can become the source of shared values for well-being and happiness. We can make it a life force of national governance.

For sure we need much more political discourse among the parties on many issues of national importance. As our political process moves on we will not only listen to political discussions among party leaders but add our voices to the debate, as professionals and as concerned citizens. So we look to our leaders to demonstrate healthy deliberative politics.

What we shouldn’t encourage or tolerate is mudslinging and character assassinations without any concrete evidence. From experience, we know how our unbridled and overzealous party supporters or workers could create confusion and chaos in the communities. We need to prevent this from the beginning as we gear towards the elections next year.

The process of democratisation in itself is not important. Our goal is good governance. And good governance is not possible without intensely debated and reasoned decision-making in a rapidly changing world. This is what we understand by the need for political maturity, a priority that was consistently emphasised by our Kings.

As small as we are, we can overcome external threats if we remain conscious of the potential threats and remain steadfast in protecting our common interests. Political parties can do that. Our parties also have much grounds to cover to address the threats from within, mainly in terms of corruption, violation of rule of law, and policy corruption, among others.

The responsibility falls extra hard on the party leadership and we all sense the growing pressure today.