Chilling effect of cooling period

If getting into politics is arduous, getting out is neither an easy task. This is particularly true for civil servants who resigned but failed to contest and for those candidates who lost in the primary election. It seems like they are squeezed between a rock and a hard place.

Even if civil servants who took a gamble with politics want to return to their previous profession, they are deterred by the three-year cooling off period that an ex-politician should have from the day of discontinuation of all party and other political activities as per the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2012.

This means an individual who joined politics must officially deregister from the party and serve the three-year cooling off period before he becomes eligible for any form of employment in the civil service.

While it may appear unconvincingly palatable for civil servants who took the plunge into politics and contested the election, it doesn’t go well with several fresh graduates who were candidates or members of losing political parties.

Three year is definitely too long a time. Even if they wish to appear for the civil service examinations, the conditions forbid them, thus leaving them to look for jobs in the corporate and private sector. And getting employed is not easy with the job market already inundated with a large number of unemployed graduates.

The civil service may have its own reasons but this is definitely a hefty price candidates are paying for answering the so-called call of democracy and for risking everything to be part of the democratic process.cooling_off_period_

Similarly, a few civil servants who resigned to join politics but couldn’t contest the election are in a quandary too. While they have resigned from the civil service, many with specialized skills in scarcity, they were forbidden to contest the election just because they were not registered members of the political party. They are neither here nor there. It’s a double loss.

And as such, some feel that conditions shouldn’t be too restrictive for these few to get back into the system. An amicable solution may perhaps be sorted out instead of rendering step-motherly treatment. It is all the way better if the civil service is to gain through the experience and expertise of these people.

Whatever said and done, getting into politics can be an expansive affair, even a mammoth blunder. There is no denying the rhetoric, urging people to take part in the political process and answer to the call of the nation, but condition such as the cooling off period is just one, among many others, deterrent. Even if someone wants to contribute by being part of the democratic process, these rigid rules apparently restrict the movement as of now.

So instead of the rhetoric, there should be facilitation. Rather than being too restrictive, the rules must facilitate, have provisions that allow maneuvering in and out of the system easier.


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