Political parties ready with manifestos

Political parties ready with manifestos

Electoral manifestos play a crucial role in informing people of a party’s vision and are central components of democracy. All political parties need to submit their manifestos on 28th September before 4.00 PM local time, to enable the election commission of Bhutan (ECB) scrutinize the manifestos. Party members have been working on it. Speaking to Business Bhutan, all said that they are on track.

The offices of Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) said that the party has completed drafting the party manifesto. The draft manifesto of the PDP (People’s Democratic Party) has also been completed. The manifesto drafting committee of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) said that the party completed with the first draft of the manifesto and is working on the second draft. “It will be ready soon,” the member said.

The party office of Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) said that the draft of the manifesto was completed a long time back. However, the party has an internal vetting process. Since most of the candidates are out in the field, the party is yet to complete this procedure. “We are also collecting a few issues from the ground during our familiarization (FAM) tour, and we are reviewing the issues to incorporate them into our final manifesto.”

Drafting process of DTT began with the drafting of the framework. The party office said that the rigorous nationwide familiarization helped them fill in the framework with inputs and wisdom gained from the people they met across the country helped in the process.  “Almost a year, following consultation with the people across the communities nationwide and several rounds of review and revision and after as many drafts, we finally have the final draft,” a member said. 

DTT has its own group of experts, professionals and experience to help put together inputs received from the people from the meticulous consultations, the party claimed.

The DPT says it started consulting people since the party started its tenure. “We believe that manifesto crafting is a continuous process. We used the inputs of people collected during our constituency visits, official meetings and feedback received during and after Parliamentary Sessions,” the drafting committee members said. 

DPT’s interactions with the people have been on and open all the time. For an actual vision and ideology of the party as a political institution, the party had its experts in drafting manifesto. 

BTP began its drafting process long time back. The party instituted different thematic committees among the candidates following a series of plenary meetings. Each committee engaged and interacted with the relevant stakeholder, studied the relevant literature and documents, and presented a series of reports systematically to the plenary for further discussion and guidance.

Each thematic committee submitted its recommendations to the manifesto drafting committee for further consultation and review before handing it over to the manifesto review committee. Numerous discussions, plenaries, and two retreats were held since December last year to focus on the manifesto. The manifesto review committee will further vet the draft manifesto by conducting stakeholder consultation meetings if necessary. The final draft will be presented to the plenary for further discussion before it is submitted to the ECB. So, the drafting process was a thorough and fulfilling experience.

The party office said that one of the unique features of BTP is the competency and professional diversity of the candidates. Party’s set of competent candidates with substantial work experience and field expertise have been doing their research, presentations, and consultations from the start. However, BTP didn’t limit themselves to in-house experts. The manifesto was enriched further by the concerns raised by the public during the FAM tour. Each candidate was required to meet the public and collect their issues in small groups either during the preparation of the President’s FAM visit or as a follow up after the FAM visits. Associations and interest groups were also consulted.

BTP said that the drafting of the manifesto was an extraordinary exercise, as it not only provided a platform for all of them to learn from each other but also brought the team closer. The consultation process with the public, groups, and experts not only enriched the draft but also broadened the perspective of the members. “We have a well experienced and dedicated team of candidates, who have mostly served at the highest level in the Parliament, civil service, corporate, or private sectors,” the party office said.

“From the public consultation meeting, BTP is happy to learn that people have matured and become more reasonable over the course of 15 years of democracy in the country. This time around, the people are more aware of the national issues and have become more wise in exercising their judgment as to what is a reasonable pledge and promise,” a member said.

BTP is of the view that the needs and aspirations of the people must be fulfilled even if they are not included in the manifesto. “However, as a responsible party, BTP shall not pledge and promise unreasonably to place an undue burden on future generations and the nation. BTP’s manifesto shall include what is necessary and doable to create enabling conditions for our people to realize their full potential and take the nation forward towards a more vibrant and prosperous society,” the party said

The PDP engaged in extensive consultations, inputs from various villages, Gewogs, constituencies, and Dzongkhags, collected through surveys, group chats, social media, and in-person focus group meetings by our candidates; collaborating with coordinators and establishing separate manifesto teams or committees. These committees actively gathered inputs from a diverse range of sources and stakeholders. The initial draft of the manifesto underwent review and approval by a high-level committee. Despite this, the ongoing public consultation meetings will ensure that the public concerns and opinions are exhaustively incorporated. This iterative process aims to finalize the manifesto before submitting the ultimate version to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) on September 28.

The PDP adopted an inclusive approach, consulting various stakeholders including coordinators, separate manifesto teams or committees, and a high-level committee. “While we have not recorded the precise number of consultations, we have conducted multiple discussions with the relevant stakeholders. The party opted not to hire an external expert as we leveraged the expertise and experience of its internal members,” the party office said.

 “The party underscores its dedication to fulfilling the commitments outlined in the manifesto, summarized in the impactful tagline, “For a better Drukyul, A promise we will deliver.” This sentiment reflects the party’s pledge to translate its promises into tangible actions that benefit the country and its citizens,” the party office said.

Meanwhile, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa could not respond to Business Bhutan.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu