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DIPD Democracy seminar

The Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy supports the strengthening of democratization and a democratic culture through partnerships with political parties, multiparty platforms and institutions in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In several of the countries this support includes strengthening the local basis and engagement of political parties. In 2013 more than fifty international guests were invited to participate in DIPD’s Study Tour on Danish Municipal Elections. During the inspirational study tour the participants got an insight to Danish local level democracy and political culture, which to a large extent surprised the participants. However, what are the conditions for local political engagement in our cooperating countries – in terms of electoral systems, local administration and governance?

We have invited Per Tidemand – a recognised adviser on local governments with working experience on local government reforms – to give a presentation of key issues. In his presentation Per will focus examples from Tanzanian but also draw from experiences in other countries.  In his presentation Per Tidemand will discuss powers, functions and resources of local governments as well as the electoral systems for both higher level local governments and the so-called “grass roots democracies” at village level. In his presentation he will discuss both the constructive as well destructive aspects of party politics at local levels.

After the presentation there will be time for debate, discussions and questions.

The seminar will take place in “Verdensrummet” at Kvarterhuset, Jemtelandsgade 3, 2300 Copenhagen S. From 3pm – 5 pm on April 29th

The Seminar is part of the DIPD Democracy seminars

For sign up: rrvi@dipd.dk

About Per Tidemand:

Ph.D. International Development Studies, RUC, Denmark

Per has 23 years of practical experience as a consultant working on public sector and local government reform programmes in Africa, Middle East and Asia. This includes assignments in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Mozambique, Namibia, Palestine, Philippines, South Sudan, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  He has undertaken research on political aspects of reforms in Uganda and Tanzania. He has lived and worked in East Africa for 15 years.

BHUTAN: Multiparty Platform Launced

The logo and website of the Bhutan Democracy Dialogue (BDD) was successfully launched at Royal Banguet Hall in the capital Thimphu in Bhutan . This marked the beginning of a new multiparty platform taking form in Bhutan. It happened with the honorable presence of her Majesty the Queen Mother, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, a number of prominent cabinet ministers, the Speaker of Parliament, Chief Election Commissioner and many party members of the 5 political parties.

Report by DIPD projectcoordinator, Susanne Adelhardt 

With inspiration from Denmark

The five registered political parties of Bhutan set up the BDD with the signing of a Charter for Bhutan Democracy Dialogue with the Election Commission in November 2014. The establishment of the BDD is a direct outcome of a joint study tour to Denmark for the representatives of  all the 5 registered political parties in Bhutan in June 2014. The study tour was organized and supported by DIPD and upon return to Bhutan, the 5 parties decided to form BDD and plan for multiparty activities inspired by some of the multiparty activities they had participated in during the study visit  in Denmark, including planning for a Democracy Festival with inspiration from the “Peoples meeting” at Bornholm.

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Photo: BDD members during the press conference

Culture of dialogue and cooperation

The multiparty platform is set up with a vision to achieve a mature democratic culture and to promote a vibrant democracy and encourage political parties to work together and take a common position on issues of national interest. The platform  encourages political parties to engage in dialogue, build cooperation and partnership across party lines.

The BDD has a steering committee comprising of two representatives, each from the registered political parties and the Election Commission of Bhutan. A chairperson for BDD is to be elected biannually by the members of the committee. At its first meeting held on 24th November 2015, Ms. Lily Wangchuk, the President of Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, was elected as the first chair to head the steering committee for the first 6 months.

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Photo: BDD launch at the Royal Banquet Hall on 17th April

Deepening democracy in Bhutan

The present chairperson of BDD Lily Wangchuck (from Druk Chirwang Tshogpa) in her opening remarks, stated that “the multiparty platform through BDD will encourage political parties to work together and take a common position on issues, which will further help consolidate Bhutanese Democracy and deepen our democratic culture”. She also emphasized that “political cooperation achieved through an interparty dialogue is an important cornerstone for an effective and sustainable democracy leading to conflict prevention and peace building, and to regain the public’s confidence in the democratic system”.

The Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzan Wangdi called the launch a historic event and stressed that “political leaders must become examples of good conduct and behavior, and stand as example of pillars of integrity, shining the light of hope of principled partisan politics as model for the democratic world”.

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Photo: The Queen Mother greeting the ministers and the BDD Chair Lily Wangchuck

Statement and greetings from the DIPD Director

The project coordinator Susanne Adelhardt was present at the launch in Bhutan and read out a statement from the DIPD Director Bjørn Førde. The Director in his statement underlined that “it all comes down to what citizens believe is right, and what they believe will work for them. Just like in Denmark, political parties and their representatives in Bhutan need to earn the trust and respect from the citizens, not only when an election takes place, but on a daily basis”. The Director also in his statement emphasized that DIPD look forward to continue the journey with BDD in the years to come.

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Photo: The Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangechuck with the Prime Minister, Bhutan Election Commission, BDD members and DIPD coordinator at the launch

The important role of the media

Following the launch of the new BDD website and the BDD logo by the Queen Mother a photo session was initiated outside the Royal Banguet Hall. And when the queen mother had left, all the five parties were present at a well visited press conference. Here the BDD Steering Committee members stressed the need for the media to actively understand their role as message bringer of the multiparty dialogue.

One of the steering committee members noted  “sometimes the press is only interested  when there is a fight among parties. But the media should also play a role in letting the people of Bhutan know of the important multiparty dialogue that will be taking place with the important work of the BDD

On a positive note the launch of the BDD was widely covered by the Bhutan newspapers as well as by the national broadcasting company transmitting from the historic launching event.

CEC statement

Local Media Coverage

KUENSEL, APRIL 18 2015 

THE BHUTANESE, APRIL 18 2015

BUSINESS BHUTAN, 18 2015

MYANMAR: Political Parties and the Media in the Electoral Process

As the elections approach, political parties and the media have identified key areas of consensus that will promote coverage of the elections that is balanced, accurate and professional.

Read more