As we head to the polls

Politics and elections are taking position of prominence and importance lately, going by reports in the media and talks doing the round in town. Most events and activities for now have at least something to do with politics or the upcoming elections.

A sense of urgency and busyness, among political parties and candidates, the Election Commission of Bhutan and other concerned agencies, is ostensible as we gear up for the third parliamentary elections later this year. And things are getting ordered like they should as we wait for the big day.

The interim government has been appointed on Thursday accordingly as per the Article 19 (1) of the Constitution of Bhutan, following the dissolution of the National Assembly, to enable the ECB to hold free and fair elections. The interim government is also expected to ensure uninterrupted continuance of the routine functions of the government till a new National Assembly is constituted.

The ECB has been busy lately. Apart from mulling over solutions and looking for ways to curb the misuse of social media through posts that are in violation of the electoral laws, the agency has also been engrossed in correcting voters’ details or information in the Draft Electoral Roll and Postal Voters list, which it released early this month, for the National Assembly elections,

Similarly, all political parties seem to be set for the upcoming elections, going by what the parties claim. All parties have held their party conventions and finalized their 47 candidates too. While new candidates are being introduced, some are being replaced. The parties are busy on social media as well, sharing posts and pictures about the party and their candidates. And in a few more days, they may soon come out with their party manifestos, which most parties claim are getting some final touches as of now.

Security in the upcoming National Assembly elections also seems to have been taken care of. The Royal Bhutan Police reportedly stated that they are prepared in terms of security arrangement for the elections and that more than 2,500 police personnel will be deployed for the elections.

Against these political backdrops, it’s worth pondering and asking ourselves how are we as voters preparing ourselves when we go to the poll? How are we going to exercise our electoral franchise duly? How prepared are we or do we even need to be? We must be informed and also keep ourselves informed before we exercise our electoral franchise. While democracy gives us the right to determine our own future, that determination must be made on informed or educated decision. We ought to keep asking ourselves– what this party, if elected, got for me as a voter; for my family, for my community, and for my country?