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On the poll day

The country will return to the polls once more today to choose a party that would govern the people for five years.

In the months running up to the poll day, the Bhutanese society was fraught with emotions. Speculations were rife and the initial excitement for the national assembly elections ebbed to anxiety and even anger as the two parties and their supporters exchanged a flurry of accusations to outdo each other.

Given the confrontational nature of campaigns this should be expected. All these and more will be put to rest today evening. All that can be said for now is that this would be a close contest.

Number crunching began since the primaries and political pundits and observers both within the parties and outside have made predictions even though they know that they tend to get it wrong more often than not. Past elections have shown that the unpredictability of the electorate is the only predication we tend to get right. Given the surprise they throw up every election cycle, it is time we stop assuming our voters as naïve.

After attending a marathon of meetings, common forums and watching the public debates, a total of 304,659 voters are expected to walk to the 865 polling stations set up across the country today to make, what we believe is an informed choice. For months now, we have heard the politicians and their promises to serve the people. We have heard the election officials educating voters on the importance of their scared responsibility. We have seen how some 5,300 officials have fanned across the country to ensure the election process is smooth. To ensure that every vote is counted, the election commission’s yesterday hired a chopper to drop off the overseas postal ballots to the respective dzongkhags on time.

All these arrangements are made for people to exercise their rights. The commission is ready and the parties prepared for any outcome. They have done their part.

It is now time for the people to do their part.

As we prepare for the polls today, we recall the sacredness of the responsibility given to the people when the throne devolved power to the people. We sense the profundity of the words when we were told that the future of the country lies in the hands of the people.

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