With the year slowly drawing to an end, we have a lot of things to look forward to in the New Year. High on the list is the local government elections, which could begin as early as January.
Some of the thromdes will see their elected Thrompon’s tenure come to an end by January. Yet there is hardly any talk about the Thrompon elections that are drawing near. Without any notification from the Election Commission of Bhutan, the actors, possible candidates cannot come to the fore. The only notification so far is a call for functional literacy possession test for the thromde thuemies.
There is ample time for the election commission. Setting the process of election and announcing the date on which the Commission calls for election can be done within 90 days before the date of expiration of duration of a local government. They will ensure that each local government is reconstituted on the date of a local government’s duration coming to an end.
But January is not far away and we want potential people to take their place. Declaring political ambitions may not be Bhutanese as much as keeping it to the last minute, but it is high time we start about the important election at the local level. The Election Commission is probably engaged with the Democracy House that will be consecrated this week, but even if the Commission starts notifying and calling for election this week or next, there is not much time left for the potential contesters if the elections is scheduled in January. It is wiser to come forward and take the responsibility.
Election of the 16 other Thrompons may happen at a later date, probably together with the gup elections. This is a good idea for the commission and the government as it would save time and money in terms of not having to field two or several rounds of returning officers and setting up election machineries.
Each of the 20 dzongkhags whether big or small will have a Thrompon. It is good for the thromdes, as an elected body at the local level would ensure development and amenities. Running 16 thromdes with a Thrompon and a team of his thuemies will be an expensive affair for the government. But the Parliament has decided and it is only wise for people to elect “the right or credible leaders.”
At this stage, we can only hope that if people are hesitant to step in the open and declare their interest, they are doing their groundwork including homework like identifying problems and solutions of their respective thromdes.