Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Political Parties Gearing for the 2013 Race - Part I

 Clearing the Debt-

With the term of first democratically elected government already crossed the mid way and as it nears its completion, more or less the politicians and those who are interested in politics seems to be preparing for the next election in 2013. 

Having to clear all the financial liabilities of the political parties by June 2012, as directed by Election Commission of Bhutan, both the ruling party and opposition party with the spirit of starting their campaign afresh, are finding ways and means to clear their huge debts incurred to them during the first general election held in 2008. The two parties without realizing the current state of chaos in clearing the debts, had spent money lavishly in 2008 which is why both the parties have a debt of more than 20 million with banks or various sources as of now.

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) Parliament members, besides contributing 10% their monthly salary to keep the party functioning, have finally resorted to borrowing additionally in order to clear their financial debt of Nu. 20 M. It is reported that the ministers and MPs borrowed some Nu. 100,000 to 200,000 from the National Pension and Provident Fund and other sources to clear their debt with Bank of Bhutan. The remaining debt, they intend to clear by collecting membership fees and voluntary contributions by the members. 

Following the ruling party, the Opposition Party too reportedly, is finding the ways to clear of their debt of Nu. 20 M to their former party president and an additional Nu 3.8 million to printing and media houses. The party aims to clear the debt by collecting money via three sources - registration fees of members, annual membership fees of registered members, and voluntary contribution by registered members. But with the meagre sum of Nu. 5 for new member registration in the party as of now, it’s obviously going to be difficult to collect a good sum unless the dedicated members voluntarily contribute a good amount to the party.

The Journalist
Though both the parties faced lots of financial instability, the opposition objected the State Funding of political parties, which the ruling party desired to adopt, terming it unconstitutional. But looking critically the state is already supporting the parties with enough fund. The National Council of Bhutan also decided no to the state funding for the two political parties stating it is unconstitutional.  The parties, I fell, will need a good sum of money when they are campaigning for the election and familiarizing with the commoners at grassroot level but for that purpose the Election Commission of Bhutan are giving the required fund. Besides our local government candidates doesn't get a single penny from the ECB but still they successfully carry out their campaigns and other meetings so if the state is to give fund to the party separately, why not the local government candidates also get a small share for their campaigns and all?

However, despite repeated discussions on the provision of state funding, yet it still remained just as a "monkey business" impasse as pointed out by The Journalist. In the case if the state is to provide state funding to the parties, it is clear that a huge amount will finish up for the welfare of the parties than for meeting the needs of the our people. Because already, the state have to pay a good package which the MPs demand as their salary and for other amenities like Prado’s, Housing, et al.
One way or the other, It seems that politics is a money game, be it in a corrupt society or in corruption free country.

Now with their past experience with regards to financial problems, will the existing parties learn a lesson from it and adopt new strategy to make the best use of their limited money resource in the next election? Or will they try and look for various other sources for revenue? Will this issue of financial crisis in party caution the new parties if any, for contesting in the next primary election? But they might be all mentally prepared to face the situation with bravery when it rocks the cradle in 2013.

                                                                                                       ..... to be continued..,


  1. bro thnz for updating about the elections.. though the state funding is claimed to be unconstitutional yet to my perception i feel there should be some considerations... we need to look from every possible angles.. no democracy will exist without political parties.. i would love to see your next post in this regard.....

  2. Hi Dorjay, Thanks for dropping by and sharing your opinions la. I was of the opinion that as the political parties are already having three sources of income for their functioning and separate campaign fund, there is no need for separate state funding as such. Besides if the government mobilize that sum for upliftment of poors and giving social amenities for the peoples welfare, this would bring a big change.
    Any way, lets see whether our MPs go to the extend of amending the Constitution to avail state funding.

  3. ya i do agree that some parts of the state funding for political parties would be wastage but it seems that it is opening the eyes of poor candidates who is very much capable.It is because to be the part of politics one should be financially rich.And from my perception it is some how helping the poor ones to be in the same line to compete la.

  4. Hi Anon, Thanks for visiting and sharing your opinion la. "Equity with Justice" the slogan of Ruling party will get materialized. :)

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