Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - 7:43 PM
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Election in motion

There are good indications the voter turnout could be much higher for the general election poll day on July 13, when Bhutan will elect a new government for the second time after transiting to a democracy. Reports from different parts of the country, including the capital, indicate hundreds of voters travelling in groups in hired buses, taxis and private cars for their respective polling stations. Initially, it appeared that fatigue was getting to the electorate, who would have to cast their ballot for the third [... Read More]

Time out

For the 94 candidates of the two political parties contesting the country’s second general election, the time has come to take a break before they hear the verdict of the people on the evening of July 13. The 48-hour blackout period officially begins from 9am today, which means the political campaign, which has been going on for the past four weeks, must stop. As is characteristic of the Bhutanese, the last minute campaign is still likely to continue in the morning before the clock strikes [... Read More]

Post campaign, pre poll

The exodus has begun.  For the past few days, the electorate has been leaving in droves from the main urban centres for their hometowns and villages all across the country to cast their vote in the country’s second general election. In another three days, Bhutan will have chosen one of the political parties to form the country’s second elected government, five years after it transited to a parliamentary system of governance. It is definitely not the best time to be on the road, with the [... Read More]

The excise equation

Word that the government of India is also contemplating withdrawing the excise duty refund has, as expected, got the electorate worried, because it comes close on the heels of subsidy cuts for cooking gas and kerosene. It is once again about the state of Indo-Bhutan relations, which has been politicised to such an extent, no one would have ever guessed it would be that way. By all accounts, the excise duty refund does form a substantial source of revenue for the Bhutanese government.  Only last [... Read More]

Winning elections isn’t everything

Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month and therefore pedestrian day, an initiative of the former government. This initiative, depending on which party the people elect to form the new government, could remain or forever become part of the past. The DPT has said that it will keep it going, and the PDP has said that it will remove it. That will be decided when the country goes to polls for the second time in its history to elect a new government five days [... Read More]

One way or the other …

A week from today Bhutan will once again go to polls and by evening it should be known whom the people have chosen to form the government for the next five years. As it stands now, it has become near impossible to predict which party the people will choose.  Five weeks ago, after the primaries were held, it looked like one party had a good chance.  Since then a lot has changed, or appears to have changed, as preferences for the electorate. In fact, some [... Read More]

Worst-case scenario avoided

Since the July 3 South Thimphu public debate, where the DPT candidate hinted the party would back out if it has undermined the greater interest of the nation, there has been concern over what course the election process will take. The next day, the DPT campaign in the east came to an abrupt halt, with party leaders and candidates all suddenly rushing to Thimphu. The media was told that they were heading to the capital to discuss the impact of the sudden withdrawal of subsidy [... Read More]

To put the nation first

What has been unfolding in the past weeks through the campaigns and political debates clearly shows a split in Bhutanese society.  Most of the time, it is about trying to bring the other candidate down, rather than something more substantial. It has, in most certain terms, weakened Bhutan as a nation.  It has created misunderstanding and distrust in this peaceful landlocked nation of a little more 700,000 people. It also goes to indicate that perhaps the level of understanding of issues among the electorate may [... Read More]

A kitchen crisis

While discussions continue between the two countries on the cooking gas and kerosene subsidy, Bhutanese consumers continued to gather yesterday at LPG gas depots, which still had cylinders procured at the subsidised rate. By last evening, depots with the subsidised stock were all cleaned out, which means the new unsubsidised price will automatically come into effect from today. Domestic or household users have been startled by the new unsubsidised pricing, not only because of a natural tendency of not wanting to pay more, but because [... Read More]

The honeymoon is over

All kinds of messages are being read into the withdrawal of subsidy by the government of India on cooking gas and kerosene that Bhutan imports. This is only to be expected, because it is election time here, and the general election is barely 10 days away. Without the subsidy, both essential items will now be double and triple their existing prices.  This will get voters all worked up. The interim government has said that it is taking up the matter with the government of India [... Read More]