Last to register, but first to confirm all 47 candidates formally
Adding to candidates comprising of former Secretaries, Directors, Dzongrabs, Drungpas, Chief Executives, Managers, Educators and Technical experts, Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) on Augusts 31, 2023, declared their last two candidates from Paro and Thimphu, making it a party that has formally declared all 47 candidates. The last two declared were Kunzang Dorji, BTP’s candidate from Lamgong_Wangchang, Paro. The 40-year-old graduated from the Institute of Culture and Language Studies in 2007 and served in the civil service as a Dzongkha Development Officer.
The other was former secretary of the National Assembly, 55-year-old Tandin Tshering, who was declared as candidate for South Thimphu. According to the BTO, he is an accomplished and seasoned government official with over 31 years of experience in the civil service. BTP’s hopes to use his expertise in strategic planning, institutional capacity building and policy development.
According to the party, despite being the last party to register, BTP has made huge strides in terms of confirming its candidates and galvanizing people’s support nationwide in a short duration. The party claims that it has the right mix of dynamic candidates representing a broad spectrum of backgrounds, experiences, and expertise, all united by a shared commitment. “Led by a luminary, who leads by example, a personification of ‘service before ambition,’ the BTP team comprises of young visionaries to seasoned and veteran public servants, who are not only capable and knowledgeable but also genuinely understand the ground reality and the daily challenges faced by the people,” a press release from the party states.
Meanwhile, the Party’s President, Dasho Pema Chewang said experience is what BTP banks on to gain people’s trust and restore people’s confidence in democracy.” BTP has 30 candidates who have more than 20 years of work experience in diverse fields. Almost 75% of our candidates are from the civil service, of which nearly 80% have served at P1 level and above with a good track record of having been effective implementors.
However, there are also critics. BTP says that their candidate selection process is rigorous and highly organized with several vetting processes to ensure that they select the best candidates despite receiving expressions of interest from multiple aspiring individuals, a political observer said. “But they have already got 47; either they got good candidates at the first try or they had to speed up their methods,” one political expert said.
On the benefits of having all 47 candidates, the expert said there are advantages. “Though all parties will have 47 candidates, by declaring all 47 candidates formally, the party has sent a message that they have been able to get candidates easily. Further, if one constituency does not have a candidate, it becomes difficult for the party and members to work in that constituency. It is the same for all political parties,” he said, adding it would also add to people deciding who to vote for. “People will have more time to sit down and discuss which candidate would be better.”
Meanwhile, BTP claims that its candidates are also well represented by a young pool of energetic candidates with fairly good representation of women. “We are delighted to have 3 female candidates who are well grounded in their respective fields. They not only add gender diversity but also bring about the much needed professional diversity to our party,” the party says.
As of August 2, 2023, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had declared 42 candidates. The party was left with five more candidates to be announced. However, the General Secretary of the party, Kuenga Tashi said that the party has all 47 ready candidates but “awaiting for their zakar (auspicious day)” to declare them.” The party’s President, Dasho Tshering Tobgay, and Vice President, Dasho Dorji Choden are among the 42 declared candidates.
Meanwhile, one of the new political parties formed in 2022, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) had declared 44 candidates as of July 22, 2023. The party declared its first three candidates from the constituencies of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha on 27 August 2022.
Till July 31, 2023, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) had declared 11 candidates.