Democracy for you, Himalayan style

First it was Bhutan, when the public there virtually voted in a one-party rule by giving the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa 45 of the 47 seats in the first ever elections to the National Assembly.  The People’s Democratic Party secured a mere two seats and subsequently has gone into some sort of disarray. That was in March 2008.

Just yesterday, in neighbouring Sikkim state (where elections were held both to the State Assembly and to the Indian Parliament) the ruling Sikkim Democratic Party under Pawan Kumar Chamling won all the 32 seats in the State Assembly thus virtually eliminating even the semblance of an opposition presence.     The Indian National Congress, which hoped to make a comeback through the help of former chief minister N.B. Bhandari, would want to reassess its role in the region even as it celebrates a clear victory in the national parliament.

I guess the Himalayan people, at least some of them, believe in being black and white so that there is no confusion.

So what may happen in Nepal next year when the hoped for Constitution is promulgated and surely elections will be held to the Republic’s Parliament. Unliked Bhutan or Sikkim, Nepal has a surfiet of parties and so there is no chance of a single-party rule being voted to power. But if there is a pattern in the Himalayan people’s mindset we should expect surprises.

Elections in the Tibetan Community in Exile, both for the de facto Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) and the Parliament, are two years away but the surprise or the matter of interest this time would only be the candidates that will come up for the post of the Kalon Tripa. There is an initiative started by Thubten Samdup la to encourage the people to discuss this.


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