Together with the dawn of a new year, the general elections of 2018 are reaching the gates. Though political parties have started their work, a question pricking the minds of most politicians is this. Will voters go for good candidates or vote based on the party or the leader?
It is definitely true that a political party should have all ingredients that are required for a delicious meal. Parties need a credible leader, who is accepted by the people. There is also the need of credible candidates; those who can be trusted by the people and who has a strong social bond with people of his/her constituencies.
The answer does not end here. Bhutanese voters have now begun to think that if the party of a candidate that they support, does not make through, there would be little or no significant role played by their elected MPs. And the situation is worse, if a party of their candidates does not even form the opposition party.
Two elections on and the experiment with democracy has generated awareness on the need to vote. Rural people that this paper spoke to say candidates matter. If the candidate is strong, he/she would do a lot for their region. But yet again, the other question jumps in. What if the candidates’ party fails to win?
This does not mean that parties forming the government will prevent development in areas where people did not support them. We are a Gross National Happiness (GNH) country, spurred with the ideologies of balanced socio economic development and equity. Today, most parts of the country are equally developed, though minor disparities still exist.
However, this jigsaw puzzle of candidates or parties/leaders is something political parties may need to think about, especially parties that have to make their identities known. Older parties have an edge. The party and leaders are known. They may be in a position to field capable candidates. They will have a cauldron, with all ingredients. Perhaps the campaign in 2018 will go along these lines.