No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

The successful registration of the latest party to join the bandwagon of parties that have declared their intentions to participate in the 2023 National Assembly (NA) elections is the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), which was registered on January 9, 2023. Leading BTP is former secretary of the National Land Commission (NLC), Dasho Pema Chewang.

While a scientific study on Bhutanese voter behavior and the factors that make people vote for one party has not been conducted, it is universally acknowledged that leaders play a very vital role. Some people vote for a particular party by just looking at the leader. Critics in Bhutan have been articulating that there is a dearth of capable individuals in Bhutan, filling in the mantle of a true leader. But the fact that there are five political parties currently, who would participate in the 2023 elections, with leaders (presidents), who have proven their capabilities in different areas and times, this theory – lack of leaders is debunked. Business Bhutan brings to you the presidents of the five parties.

Dr. Dasho Lotay Tshering – Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa

No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

In a dramatic turn of events, Dr. Lotay Tshering, the serving Prime Minister (PM) of Bhutan, flew from his passionate profession as Surgeon to become the Third elected PM of Bhutan as his party won in the 2018 elections.

The PM completed his MBBS from Dhaka University, Bangladesh and General Surgery, BCPS, Dhaka University, Bangladesh. He obtained a fellowship in Urology from Wisconsin Medical College Hospital, USA & SGH, Singapore. He also has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Canberra, Australia.

The PM has served as Consultant Urologist, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) and Consultant surgeon, JDWNRH and Mongar Hospital. He was also the Head of His Majesty’s Kidu Medical Unit.

His Majesty the King awarded the prestigious Lungmar scarf to the PM during the National Day celebration on December 17, 2020 for the outstanding effort and dedication to safeguard the nation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PM is also the recipient of the Druk Thuksey (Heart Son of Bhutan) medal from His Majesty the King during the National Day celebration on December 17, 2017.

Opposition Leader (OL) Dorji Wangdi – Druk Phuensum Tshogpa.

No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

The OL began his career in Bhutan Civil Service in 1995 as a Planning Officer in the Ministry of Planning and moved to Ministry of Finance as a Program Officer in the Department of Aid and Debt Management in 1998. In 2000, he joined the Cabinet (alias Prime Minister’s) Office as Deputy Secretary, the position he served for more than seven years till he resigned to join politics in 2008.

He contested in the first ever democratic parliamentary elections and became the youngest Cabinet Minister then, taking the charge as the Minister of Labor and Human Resources in April 2008. He re-contested and secured the second term in 2013 and served as a Member of Parliament. In 2018, he re-contested for the third term and got elected again, and is currently serving as the Leader of Opposition and President of his Party, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).

The OL studied Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from Bhutan and is a recipient of two medals of Academic Excellence, and later pursued Master of Business Administration (MBA) with specialization in Corporate Strategy and Economic Policy from the Netherlands. He has also undergone numerous courses especially on leadership, governance and project management from several reputed universities and institutes abroad. Besides active politics, he remains a dedicated scholar of economics, business, governance and Buddhism.

Dasho Tshering Tobgay – Peoples’ Democratic Party.

No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

President of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Dasho Tshering Tobgay was the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly from March 2008 to April 2013. He became the second democratically elected prime minister as his party won and formed the government in 2013. In 2014, His Majesty the King granted him the Lungmar in recognition of his contributions to the democratic process during his tenure as the opposition leader.

In 1990, he received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering after obtaining a scholarship from the United Nations. He also completed a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2004.

A powerful orator, in 2015, he delivered a speech at Vibrant Gujarat, inviting leading corporates from across the globe to participate in business with Bhutan. At a 2015 TED talk, Dasho Tshering Tobgay spoke about happiness and how common the theme of happiness was in other Ted Talks, including by Nancy Etcoff, and Silver Donald Cameron.

At a 2016 TED talk in Vancouver, he spoke about Bhutan’s pledge to remain carbon neutral forever and shared Bhutan’s mission to put happiness before economic growth, and set a world standard for environmental preservation. He has spoken at diverse avenues and different topics. He was one of the honorary laureates for the prestigious German Sustainability Award (GSA) 2016 for his contributions to promoting sustainability in Bhutan. In the same year, he also appeared in the list of “50 World’s Greatest Leaders”.

In December 2022, Dasho Tshering Tobgay received the “Distinguished Leadership Award” from the United Nations Hospitality Committee for UN Delegations (HCUND) as part of its “Ambassadors’ Ball Honorees – The 2022 World’s Remarkable Game Changers.

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa’s President, Kinga Tshering served in the public sector for 23 years in Bhutan. He was also the Member of Parliament in the National Assembly in 2013. He has experience in legislation, organization building with formation of Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC), Bhutan Electricity Authority (BEA) and Druk Holding and Investments (DHI). He also has experience in the financial sector, and was the Chief Executive Officer of Bhutan’s oldest Bank – the Bank of Bhutan.

He led corporate restructuring, change management, strategy, and social enterprises. He has stated as a goal making a profound impact and transformative change on the society through activism in democracy, innovation in governance, and integration of the Happiness Index into mainstream economic theory and development works in emerging nations.

He was a Fulbright Fellow while pursuing his B.Sc in Engineering at the University of Kansas and a Dispute Resolution Fellow at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution while pursuing his MBA at Pepperdine University. In 2017, he completed his Ford Foundation Mason Fellowship in the Mid Career Masters in Public Administration program at the Harvard Kennedy School. He spent 2018 as a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

Dasho Pema Chewang, President of Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) was the Secretary of the National Land Commission (NLC) of Bhutan, before he resigned to join politics and for BTP. Prior to joining the National Land Commission, he served as Deputy Chamberlain (Zimpon Wom) in His Majesty’s Secretariat for more than 4 years. He also served as Chief Planning Officer in Gross National Happiness Commission and was a Division Head in Department of Aid & Debt Management under Ministry of Finance. He served as a Militia Officer in the Royal Bhutan Army in 1991. Dasho Pema Chewang holds a Master in Development Economics from Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sherubtse College, Kanglung, Bhutan.

His Majesty the King conferred the Red Scarf to Dasho Pema Chhewang in 2020. Dasho Pema Chewang was also the Chairperson of the Eastern COVID-19 Taskforce.

Dasho has played a very vital role especially related to land. It was under Dasho’s directions that Bhutan began the land cadastral survey. Additionally, as Secretary of the NLC, he was at the core of the National Rehabilitation Program.

No dearth of Leaders in Bhutan

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu