Financing parties

About a month ago Kuensel reported that DPT MPs had insisted that “… only state funding would save them from sinking under.”

And quoted Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyal as saying: “Given the experience of the party so far and the need to have a responsible and respectable political system in the country, it’s desirable to have state support, because the existence and functioning of spolitical parties have critical implications on the health of the state.”

I’m amazed that DPT politicians continue to expect state funding for their party. After all, the first session of the parliament had decided that state funding for political parties would be unconstitutional. And it had resolved that the state would not fund political parties. So I’m surprised to see that our politicians continue to expect state support.

In fact, I’m concerned that our politicians and that our government may be preparing to justify state funding for political parties all over again. If this is so – and the Kuensel article makes me believe that it is so – then our politicians may try to approve state funding even though they themselves resolved, less than a year ago, that such funding would be unconstitutional. And that is cause for serious concern.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Just for information, would it be possible for OL to share how PDP is running its offices in the dzongkhags. If DPT with its 45 members contributing 10% of their salaries cannot run their party, there is no way, PDP can do it with just two members. This means, that the PDP has either no dzongkhag offices which I understand is mandatory for the party to qualify as a party or it is paying through other means which are not transparent. Either way, it doesn’t add up – please enlighten us!

    • Dear dendup,

      We have volunteers in the dzongkhags – they volunteer their time and office space as “in kind” contribution to the party. We sought the help of volunteers as soon as we realized that we didn’t have enough money to continue paying full-time workers.

      Similarly, our party headquarters in Thimphu is also staff by volunteers – VPs, SG, treasurer, spokersperson, experts…none of them cost the party any money.

      So for the time being, almost all the money we get (mainly through voluntary contribution and registration fees) go towards slowly clearing our liabilities.


  2. Whether the government should or should not fund the political parties is not a simple question? If the state funds the parties, the existing parties, especially the ruling party will get an added advantage over the new parties in the future. This will be unhealthy for democracy. On the other hand, if the state does not fund the parties, then the government has to increase the allowable contributions from citizens and those rich people (who make sizeable contributions to the party) could affect the party’s policies. The current cap or individual parties is definitely not sufficient as both the parties are in debt. If I have to choose between state funding and individual contributions (with cap raised) I will have to go for the state funding with much hesitation. This is a choice between Susan Boyle and another bad looking woman and it is not going to be easy.

  3. Unconstitutional? Who says?

    Both houses of the parliament are entitled to express their views on the constitutionality of anything. But, that’s not where the buck stops.

    On a matter as serious as this, the Judiciary must be asked to consider its constitutionality. We don’t have to wait till the Supreme Court is in place. What’s the Chief Justice doing? … !

  4. Yeah – how is PDP running its offices in teh Dzongkhags OR have you disbanded the offices. We would like to know.

    Zekom says – What’s the chief justice doing.

  5. Pem Yangzom says

    The question of what CJ is doing is quite valid and these question has been asked in several other forums. We have actually not seen any response so far.

    It is high time that CJ should intervene and make things clear, otherwise, what is his role if he keeps silent over such important national issue. He should be fair for the interest of nation, even though,every Tom and Dick knows he is a DPT party. It is at such juncture that his intervention is required if the objectives of the Constitution is to be realized in practice. Bhutan has a history of not getting the rules, regulations & laws not putting for implementation and this is not clear example where our CJ also getting in the same shoes.

    • Phuntsho says

      i don’t agree with you guys who think that CJ has to step in the affair. to intervene to be politically correct, unless asked to do so.

      in which country did you see CJ do this? i guess, no where!

      let’s not blame tuberculosis for the pains diabetes is causing. they are two different diseases.

      debate is healthy for democracy. that’s the beauty of rhetorics – to debate over the pro and con of a question and convince your interlocutor of the possible solution.

      whoever is smart at it will sweep across, like an absolutist king.

  6. Totally out of the topic of this post but it would be interesting to hear your view on the recent development on the happiness index. CBS has come up with 6 domains and 72 indicators to measure happiness.
    As per the first survey they did, they measured an index of 0.83, which i thought was very high and also questionable. Some of the indicators mentioned under various domains seems subjective to the time when the survey was conducted. Plus ‘Education’ which i thought was one of the main domains has only four indicators. It’s bit confusing that each indicators is given equal weights at the end. Our happiness index just brings so many questions.
    link >>

  7. I say Bhutan is headed for disaster! Self -absorbed people, that is what we have are only looking to further our own interests.

    I have nothing to comment on any of these issues, just to tell the world that I have become disheartened of late!

    We should have remained a monarchy, for it is only His Majesties that have the best interests of the country and the people at heart. Everyone else is self absorbed.

    With the transition into deomocracy, we can now see, how much the people have allegiance for His Majesties!

    I say forget democracy, lets go back to monarchy!

  8. From my opinion Political Parties should not be spending so much of funds. The funds can be minimised by doing away with all those so called “Party Workers”, be it at Dzongkhag level, gewog level and village level and so on… My personal thought is that our constituency candidates can carry over whatever the activities, be it party campaign or anything themselves just like our NC candidates did during our last election, in that way the people will have their choice over the right candidate which otherwise was misterpreted by the middlemen(the party workers)in our last election. All of us know that some of the our MPs are enjoying the fruits of the hard work put in by the party workers eg: MP from Thrimshing- Kangpara and many more, their most talk and campaign was done by their Dzongkhag co-ordinators.

    I am sure the expenditure will definitely come down if we do not have the party offices in our dzongkhags and gewogs like our NC candidates, thats purely my thought and I donot know about other democracies outside Bhutan but we definitely can have our own ways of doing as we always boss of doing something different and unique.

    One more about the party workers is that our innocent people are confused and so many misunderstandings occured due to the work done by party workers.

  9. Well, looks like everyone has become a constitutional experts and interprets on their own and declares comfortably constitutional, unconstitutional blah blah …To me, constitution is such a sacred document that i will read and think 1000 times before even convincing myself whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional, forget about declaring it publicly. To me, every word/sentence carries a huge meaning that it won’t be so easy for every tom, dick and harry to interpret it. We will have to go back and dig out the making of constitution to get the true meaning. Probably only judiciary /Supreme Court will be able to interpret it correctly and perhaps fairly.

  10. Ol, where is the reply to my query, that is on how you are running the PDP offices in the dzongkhags. Does the lack of response means you have no offices in the dzongkhags?

  11. The election law/rules require a party to maintain dzongkhag offices to qualify as a party. Does this mean that ‘ghost’ offices will do? DPT, better follow this example and stop worrying about finances. After all the CEC seems to be quite flexible on this matter.


  1. […] my concerns that our government may try to justify state funding for political parties (read Financing parties). […]

Leave a Reply