The 2018 elections are touted as the most inclusive yet.
But given the developments we are witnessing today, this election could also become the most divisive electoral process the country has seen so far. If the 2013 elections created divisions among the communities, this electoral process is dividing the country along regions.
From a contest between Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), between change and continuity, this election is becoming a contest between regions, between which party is more patriotic and loyal.
Such a phenomenon is dangerous for a small country like ours, whose strength has always been the unity of its people. But our politicians and their supporters, in quest for power, are sparing nothing to fragment the society.
The campaign period has witnessed our politicians and their supporters toying with foreign policies, the military, the institution of monarchy, the royal prerogatives and everything in between to their advantage. In the midst of all these, the voices of intervention the institutions and individuals responsible for to walk in have been the most deafening.
We should do better given the experiences of the past elections. The people have. The politicians haven’t. Reckless provocative statements are made in public meetings and debates with no thoughts on the consequences it would have on the country and the people.
We expect better. The people deserve better.
The election commission has penalised DPT’s Khar-Yurung candidate and suspended her campaign for resorting to royal patronage. Barring a candidate from campaigning further is the most severe action the commission has made to date this election. The commission has so far received 10 complaints in relation to the general election, of which three are against candidates. Seven of the 10 complaints were related to contents on social media.
While those violating electoral laws are penalised, we expect our politicians who are contesting to represent the people to be thorough with the laws and rules in place. The ugly, divisive politicking that the parties are resorting to is tiring an already tense society. We are more suspicious than excited. Voter fatigue has set in and politicians are stressed from campaigning.
Even as we get impatient and emotional and overwhelmed, we must remember that an election is not the end. It is a new beginning. Be it along regional or party lines, this is the week we have to make our choice on who would govern us for the next five years.