Bhutan celebrates International Democracy Day

Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy launched television series “Jurwa” (Changing Times) and a music video “Dear Prime Minister” yesterday at city cinema hall accompanied by talks from the five political parties representatives on the state of democracy in Bhutan, coinciding with the International Democracy Day on Friday.

Bhutan is already into its ninth year of democracy and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) General Secretary, Sonam Jatsho talked about the importance of election and voting. “Everyone should vote; it is our responsibility to vote,” he said. President of Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, Lily Wangchuk said that democracy has allowed misuse of public funds and time, instigated corruption, and at times led to wrong choice of public servants, delay in decision making process and immoral practices during elections. “These experiences have led us to lose our faith in democracy,” she said.

To make democracy work, she said political parties should  look beyond their own political interest and space by not engaging in negative campaigning, mudslinging, rumors, political corruption and bribery during elections.

A Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa represenative made a pledge to the nation that they will not let Bhutanese people get divided because of political differences.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) representative, Sonam Tobgay, said: “Democracy should be embraced by everyone because we all have dreams and if happiness is the goal than democracy is a means.”

General Secretary of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), Ugyen Dorji talked about the essence of democracy. “The essence of the democracy is the fundamental rights of the people: freedom of expression, of press, of speech, etc. This is one of the blessings of our democracy and the liberty that we enjoy,” he said.

After the Bhutan Democracy Dialogue, the 40 minute-television series was launched. Jurwa, Changing Times is set in the rural setting of Gakithang village, a hamlet in the fringes of Thimphu and centers around the theme of how a young man chooses to pursue politics and lead his country.

“Dear Prime Minister” is a music video about politics, elections, vote, and democracy. The song informs people that our ties and family, relatives, friends, community, and nation are far more important to be divided by mere political differences.

Pema Seldon from Thimphu