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For free and fair election

Inasmuch as we are ready to make it happen, our elections will be free and fair.

In the months leading up to the primary round of National Assembly election, we have witnessed some worrying incidents unfold even as we are duly reminded about our more urgent civic duties as citizens of the society that is governed by the rule of law.

Open flouting and violation of laws by some members of the society through anonymous social media accounts or otherwise from whom such acts of transgression is least expected is indeed appalling and in poor taste. The implications of making allowance to such deliberate disregard to the laws of the land will be far-reaching. When a certain individual or groups of people are given long rein to dig deep into the bad graces of nation and the people for far too long, it is trust and confidence in the system and the guardian institutions that will suffer. We cannot afford such chances however slight they might appear. For indeed, quickly trodden is a fire that is but a spark.

In the recent weeks, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has shown that it will not sit idly by. This is a laudable display of courage calling upon the institution to fulfil its mandates and responsibilities without fear or favour. At a time when campaigns and relentless politicking are dividing the society and families along the party lines, we cannot allow lies, threats, and divisive messages to cause further damage. While diversity of views, voices and choices is desirable, any activity by any individual that can advance hatred and violence in the society cannot be condoned, much less pardoned.

ECB has so far received eight election-related complaints. More will come to the commission in the coming days. It is imperative, therefore, that the commission finds the courage to resolve the issues as per the law. If there is anything like half-hearted response from the commission and relevant authorities, the danger is that it could be interpreted as anybody can do anything, even engage in recklessness of the nature that can jeopardize the peace, stability and unity of the nation, and effectively evade the long arms of the law.

Failing to address the issues appropriately at the right time, it is unsettling to imagine the kind of repercussions that could visit the nation.

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