The successful conclusion of the second Local Government (LG) Elections 2016 is yet another milestone in the country’s endeavour towards laying a strong foundation for democracy to succeed for all times to come. Indeed, we should be proud of our achievements within a short span of time despite some criticisms and misgivings, some of which were done with good intentions.
The auspicious Fire Male Monkey year’s LG elections saw significant progress in terms of number of participation and success story of female candidates. The percentages are impressive although not much in terms of the real numbers, especially for women gups.
Statistical comparisons between the first LG elections (2011) and second LG elections (2016) reveal higher voter turnout this time. There were about 30,103 more voters this time. Increase in candidates contested is 55 percent – 1,197 more candidates competed for the LG posts.
The highlight of the second LG elections was the progress made towards achieving gender equality. The following data, although small in numbers, are impressive percentage-wise: women gups increase 100 percent, from 1 to 2 this time; women mangmis increased100 percent – 24 from 12; and also women tshogpas increased by 50 percent, which is 43 more this time.
One heartening trend is the interest shown by our young graduates with university degrees to serve the country as local leaders. Of the 150 graduates, 40 of them were successfully elected, which is 26.5 percent.
However, we have a long way to go in establishing a vibrant and successful democracy as desired by our Monarchs. Therefore, complacency must not creep in due to the current achievements. Indeed, shortfalls of each election must be rectified and we should be prepared for the next. We will have Parliamentary elections in 2018.
In the meanwhile, we must remain guided and take responsibilities in keeping with the Command of His Majesty The King during the award of dhar and kabney to the gups elected of the 2016 LG elections at the Simtokha Dzong:
“As we work towards establishing a vibrant and strong democracy, of all the important tasks, people’s participation is the most important. Whether it is participation in elections or in village zomdus, asking questions or clarifying doubts, our people must continue to participate actively and meaningfully in all aspects of local governance to ensure the success of local governments.”