Political Parties

Remember my post MP is the (wo)man about how in the next elections I would rather vote for the MP than the party?

I have been discussing democracy a lot lately, and I came up with more…:)

I think it begins with my aversion to anything that groups people into one. A Political Party, with common ideas, values, ideals and positions. I mean, I cannot vouch for one person in the world to do something that I will always agree with. I may agree more with some than others, but I will not agree with anyone hundred percent.

Belonging to a political party restricts this, I feel. You then have ideals, ideas and positions that actually belong to your party, not to you as an individual. Look at Jaswant Singh and BJP in India, what happened to him for not agreeing with the party on something.

Political Parties in other countries have their own justification, I suppose. I can’t possibly say that the system is a bad idea. In India, for instance, where the huge population means you need a party to reach your voters.

But I wonder how a single candidate system would work out in Bhutan. I know the constitutional provisions on parties, but I hear the parties are dying. And I, for one, do not believe that political parties are integral to democracy. Even if they disappear, I don’t believe democracy in our country will. After all, we should be keeping the system flexible, learn by trial and error.

Look at the situation in the country right now, the kind of debates we have in the assembly. MPs repeat the words of the party president, and though the PM has said that even with a huge majority of the same party in the assembly, there is good debate, I don’t see it happen. Especially not recently. The debates I see are usually 45:2, and that is the clear line of divide. I know a better proportion would get rid of this problem, but there is more to the issue.

Party ethics demand that the members stick to party values, and defend the party publicly, even if you personally disagree. Not so good for democracy.

I wonder what it will be like if we had individual MPs, who would be answerable on their own account, who would speak as their own person and not on behalf of a greater body, who would win by their own merit and work hard, knowing that they, and only they would be responsible for their stand.

Not so easy as it sounds, I know, there would be problems choosing the PM, for instance, and ensuring that they are not influenced by a group of MPs. Also, unknown people would not stand a chance, they would not get the platform of a party to launch themselves with. It’s about measuring pros and cons. Not that I think this will happen in Bhutan.

I just wonder where we will go with the parties bankrupt and saying maybe state funding is the answer. Like I said, its a matter of trial and error.



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