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People appeal to His Majesty
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People appeal to His Majesty
More than 400 people from Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Thimphu gathered in the capital to submit petitions on their concerns over the democratic transition to His Majesty the King, who granted an audience to more than 80 of their representatives.

During the audience, the people said that they had not expected democracy to bring so much doubts and suspicions. They said that the results of the election, a National Assembly without an opposition, would greatly harm democracy and the nation.

They said that, with the benefit of hindsight, they had come to believe that the democratic process might have been introduced too early, as illiterate villagers moved from one party to the other and were swayed by whatever was said to them.

They felt that their understanding of democracy was so limited that a return to monarchy may be desirable.

His Majesty said that the apprehensions of the people at this stage in the transition are natural. However, in Bhutan, people in the civil service, private sector, or from any walk of life had always served their country. Therefore, irrespective of which political party formed the government, it was made up of members who desire to work for the benefit of the people and the nation.

It should also be remembered that democracy in Bhutan was not based on any other country but designed to suit the people and the nation. "Our people's love for our country, our unique culture, our tradition of consultation and consensus building and stable political environment make Bhutan an ideal nation for a vibrant democracy," said His Majesty. "And, with 34 years of preparation under the guidance of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Bhutan and her people are ready for democracy."

His Majesty said that, with the successful conclusion of the general elections, he had complete confidence in the people's commitment to building a strong democracy. He said that democracy must be built over decades by generations of Bhutanese. Today's steps were the first. These steps must be taken by the bureaucracy, the judiciary, National Council, National Assembly, the private sector and all Bhutanese with dignity and in the spirit of unity and common purpose.

"The introduction of democracy is not for the benefit of a few political parties and politicians. It is for Bhutan and it must serve the nation long after we are gone. We must keep this in mind and begin the work of ensuring its success."

His Majesty told the people that they must convey to their families and friends in the villages, the gratitude, happiness and pride of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Majesty for the spirit in which the people participated in the first general elections to introduce democracy.

His Majesty concluded by reminding the people that in democracy there are no winners and losers. "If democracy succeeds, the nation wins."

Source: Contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper, April 2008
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