After much speculation, the government has announced the names of the cabinet ministers. To an extent, the speculation was roused by the government itself when it promised ministerial berths to its candidates during its campaign.
The announcement of the cabinet ministers has now allayed the rumours. It called for change and the appointment shows that it went for change while maintaining the regional balance. Many had hoped for two women ministers, but it would probably take more than change to narrow the gender gap in leadership positions.
The cabinet now has one of the youngest ministers and for the first time, a surgeon as the prime minister. Four cabinet minsters have worked in the health sector and so the ruling party’s focus on healthcare cannot be mere coincidence.
The past few months saw the Bhutanese society, besides being caught up in rumours and gossips and allegations, asking questions and making predictions. From which party would make it through the primaries to which party will form the government, discussions then moved on to who would win and who wouldn’t. After speculating who would form the cabinet, questions are now asked on why one candidate was assigned a certain ministerial portfolio over the other?
The government has given its reasons but the questioning is likely to continue, which appears to be more to do with the expectations of the people than the competence of the minister elects.
However, the real discourse on real issues is yet to happen.
The election process has already familarised the new leadership, former public and civil servants with the issues facing the people. They come with a better understanding of the needs of the people and a bigger mandate to live up to their enhanced expectations. They expect change for the better.
With the people giving the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa the mandate to govern, it is now on the government to show how it would ensure good governance. The decision to heal the wounds left behind by the electoral process and to take on board everyone, including other political parties to work towards a common vision for the country is commendable. For the kinds of aspirations and standards we have set for ourselves, a small society like ours cannot afford to remain divided.
The cabinet ministers, who according to the government were chosen through a painful process, are at the helm of bridging this division. In taking on the responsibility of governance, the government has the mandate to not only fulfil its pledges but to narrow the gap the electoral process has widened.
Party leaders and members would perhaps now realise that winning an election is not the end or the challenging part. It is a new beginning. The difficult part is taking hard decisions, making difficult choices and bringing the country together.