History written

The 2023-2024 primary round of NA election saw an all time high of 26 women candidates contesting in Bhutanese politics

Twenty-six women filed to run in the primary round of the Fourth Parliamentary elections 2023–2024, representing five different political parties and writing a history on its own. As the election progressed, it became clear that only six women would make it to the next stage of the process, the general election.

These six strong, accomplished women, who ably represent the winning parties of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), have earned their spot in the next round of voting.

“Their success serves as a testament to the importance of their contributions as well as the continuous initiatives to promote greater gender diversity in the politics of the country,” an official from the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) said.

Three women ran as female representatives for PDP and engaged in contests across a range of subjects in their respective constituencies. With an astounding 2140 votes, Dasho Dorji Choden emerged victorious from Thrimshing_Kangpara constituency.

While Tshering Choden of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) received 2012 votes, Lekden Zangmo of PDP running for the Khar_Yurung constituency received 1412 votes. On the other hand, PDP candidate Dimple Thapa was triumphant in Ugyentse_Yoeseltse constituency, garnering a substantial total of 3523 votes.

“These results provide an example of the varied outcomes that the female PDP candidates encountered in the election across various constituencies,” the official said.

In their quest for inclusion in the general election, the BTP fielded three female candidates. Dorji Wangmo, contesting from Kengkhar_Weringla constituency, grossed 1547 votes but faced defeat against PDP candidate, Sonam Penjor who secured 2726 votes.

Similarly, Ugyen Dem, another BTP candidate vying for the Khatoed_Laya constituency, garnered 90 votes but was surpassed by the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) candidate, Tenzin who received 322 votes.

Likewise, Tshering Lhadon, representing BTP from Chumig_Ura constituency secured 471 votes but was unable to surpass the PDP candidate, Sonam Rinchen who amassed a total of 1107 votes. “These outcomes reflect the diverse and competitive landscape faced by BTP’s female candidates across various constituencies in their bid for progression in the election,” the ECB official opinionated.

As the upcoming general election round approaches, the return of these determined and resilient female candidates signals a renewed commitment to engaging in the democratic process. Their willingness to once again step into the electoral arena speaks volumes about the persistence and dedication they embody. Their continued participation not only reaffirms the value they place on contributing to the political landscape but also underscores the pivotal role of women in shaping the country’s governance.

The presence of these female candidates within the electoral framework serves as a powerful symbol of the ongoing struggle for gender parity and equality. It highlights the importance of female representation within the country’s parliament, echoing the need for diverse perspectives and voices to be included in decision-making processes. Beyond the confines of this election, their presence stands as a beacon, inspiring and encouraging other women to step forward and actively engage in political participation.

Their unwavering commitment and active involvement serve as a catalyst for women empowerment, demonstrating the impact that increased female representation can have on societal perceptions and norms. Through their dedication and resilience, these candidates pave the way for a more inclusive and representative democracy, fostering an environment where women feel empowered and encouraged to take part in shaping the future of their nation.

Sonam Yuden from Thimphu