Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Concentration of Constitutional mandate among few individuals is detrimental to true nature of Democracy.

I sometimes wonder about the wisdom of gift of democracy. Maybe the man on the street spoke the honest reality when it was said, " Democracy was too early ". The actual difference between that of absolute rulers and Democracy is that source of governing power differs. In absolute rule,  power is concentrated in one or few individuals and in democracy, the source of power is supposed to originate from the general people the voters.

When the Constitution of Bhutan was drafted and later approved, this consternation of possible absolute rule of the King being replaced by a kind of enlarged triumvirate body or few key individuals scooping away the powers of people based democracy was well displayed. And so appropriate measures were built into the Constitution to offset any such inclination to erode away the will of the majority people by a small closely knitted group. 

Let's look into the built in democracy principle pillars incorporated in the Bhutanese Constitution.

1. The King must abdicate at the age of 65 years and other citizens cannot stand for elective posts after the age of 65 years.

2, The same Prime Minister can only have two terms consecutive or otherwise if elected.

3.  The Chief Justice of Supreme Court, the Chiefs of Election and Anti-Corruption Commissions, the Auditor General , the Attorney General , the Chairman of Royal Civil Service Commission and that of Privacy Council  all  limited to a single 5 years term of service.

There are also this rule of single 5 years term limit for other high and powerful posts like Government Secretaries. In most cases the Rules have not been firmly implemented nor the rules removed or amended. Till date this constitutional provision for a single term of 5 years has been only implemented in the case of the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and the Attorney General.

My point is that there were very sound and valid reasons in the institution of the single term 5 year duration for high and powerful posts. In retrospection, it is a wisdom that may have been gifted by Pelden Drukpai ChhoeChhang as a soul of enduring constitutional monarchy system under which the voice of people will be heard and attended to. And a means to prevent the same few ruling the masses.

Now the Constitutional provision of the single 5 year term is headed for amendment with the Parliament passing a draft Bill to award a second 5 years term to constitutional post holders.  Democracy as envisioned by the Monarchs of Bhutan may come to an end  on the day this draft Bill receives royal assent and takes the form of a law.

The pretext of the Parliament in introducing this dubious constitutional amendment is that good and experienced people for constitution posts are hard to come by and it is unfair to retire post holders after 5 years service. This stand is ludicrous. In a nutshell the politically inclined National Council has opened the door for a political selection and  reservation of constitution posts for a decade And political National Assembly jumped in to seal the deal. If you choose not to look at the starry sky, it is not possible to see the stars. Likewise if you chose not to appoint able and impartial candidates to Constitution posts, the number of experienced political supporters would naturally be limited.

Thus the Parliament of Bhutan has opened a path for consolidating an Oligarchy System of Governance. In the not so far future this political decision will bring an end to the Constitutional democratic monarchy system. There will be more political agendas and less developmental activities. Whatever maybe, I pray that at the least the Bhutanese nation continuous to have peace and stability under any type of governance.


  1. You are right and I feel the same and I am with you

  2. It is sad that your prediction may materialise but there is still hope that you, me and other common folks as a member of constituent can share our concern with our representatives so that they can engage in informed debate and decide for the shaping good future for our country.