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The New Year begins for the Bhutanese, in a sense, this season this year. Spring, the seasonal age of rejuvenation, is almost over. We are waking up to a new dawn this hour.

The nation is preparing for a relook into its past and craning out beyond the home turf to invite the kind of future that will do good to the dwellers of this homeland we are so used to calling it our Drukyul. How are we handling the goodness of democracy?

This is a worthy question.

If voting was the beginning and the end of one’s right to adult franchise, we could stand in queues for miles and still not know whether we are there at all.  What is important is that we know why and for whom we vote for. This particular lesson has not come to us in the manner that it should have. We need serious education on this front.

Choice, otherwise, could be meaningless. And that is the danger when we talk about lives bigger than an individual’s. Choosing the right representatives to the Parliament is a serious responsibility. We are talking about the National Council elections. Things could get more muddy when we head for the National Assembly elections.

Our democracy will have matured when every Bhutanese can cast their vote without any influence from outside – goodwill, relations, societal and other pressures. Ten years have passed. We cannot play it in the name of experimentation anymore.

The time has come to get it real serious with our mandates and franchise use.

The election commission’s efforts to extend voting opportunities to the people must be commended.  Postal ballot facilitation booths are open and people are taking full advantage of the facility. Because democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives, this is encouraging.

What we must not forget, though, is our mandate as offices and private citizens, because our ultimate and the supreme dream is the success of the nation as a whole. Every vote will have to be counted in the manner that is fair, clear, and firm.

Elections are a serious national business. Let us use our franchise meaningfully.

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