Old, but still formidable

Going by the candidates of the four political parties, who are being fielded for the 2018 elections, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) seem to benefit in the upcoming election if votes were solely cast based on academic qualification and former work experience.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) has one candidate holding M.B.B.S, 28 candidates with bachelors’ degree, 16 candidates with masters’ degree, and a candidate each with a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountancy and PhD.

BKP’s media spokesperson Sonam Tobgay, also the founder of the party and the one who nurtured it since 2009 serving as Founding President from 2013 till 2017, said BKP not only has experienced and well qualified candidates, but also people who are well meaning to serve the Tsa-Wa-Sum with the heart in the right place.

“More importantly, we have our president, Dasho Neten Zangmo, who embraces politics bearing a high sense of duty for one’s country,” he added.

BKP’s candidates comprise Chief Medical Officer (1), Business (6), Media (3), Educationist (5), Engineer (3), Secretary (1), Private employee (2), Former Member of Parliament (1), Dy. Governor, Royal Monetary Authority (1), NC Member (1), Tourist guide (2), Commissioner (1), Director(1), GNH Centre, Executive, INFOSYS BPO Ltd Bangalore (1), Chairperson ACC (1), Lawyer (1), Former President and Current Vice President of BKP (1), UN (3), Banker (1), Chief Internal Auditor (1), Programme Officer (1), Sr. Integrity Promotion Officer (1), Dy. Chief Planning Officer(1), Chief Forestry Officer (1), Asst. Programme Officer (1), and General Manager(1).

BKP has the highest number of women candidates (seven) and the average age is 45 years old.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) also has maximum candidates in 36-45 age brackets, where the youngest candidate is 25 years and the oldest candidate is 63 years. The party has five women representation with one woman having had represented the party in the 2013 elections.

The party has a wide range of professionals which includes young graduate and educated farmer, and also five former parliamentarians and three government secretaries on board. The party is professionally made by journalist, media consultant, economic specialist, community worker, contractor, engineer, economist, pediatrician, researcher, farmer, film maker, secretary, urologist, consultant, entrepreneur, bureaucrat, management specialist, ICT expert, university graduate, parliamentarian, environmentalist, health consultant, financial specialist, public health specialist , special educationist and business administrator.

DNT president Doctor Lotay Tshering said the candidates are important and that the biggest strength of the party is their candidates who are passionate and motivated.

“We really did not have to go after our candidates, they chose DNT and I am very confident about my candidates. None of the other parties would have a better combination of candidates than our party,” he said.

Dr. Lotay Tshering said opportunity must be given to people (candidates) and then judge their capabilities. “Strength of a candidate cannot be determined by his status,” he added.

Meanwhile, DPT has four PhD holders, 16 with masters’ degree and 27 degree holders. The party also has five female candidates. The candidates come from the following fields of Agriculture/RNR (5), Business/Commerce/Finance (9), Educationist (7), Economics (4), Engineering (2), Health (2), HRM (2), Law (2), Public policy (1) and Science/arts (3). The age range in the party is 25 years (the youngest) and the oldest is 60 years old. The party also has 13 former MPs and three former ministers who will contest again.

Talking to Business Bhutan, DPT’s Secretary General Sangay Phurba said the party is confident about their candidates and they will get through the primary round. “Compared to the other three parties we have the largest supporters. The experience and the personality of a candidate is what matters for the voters and also trust is the important factor for a candidate to win,” he said.

“DPT has young, energetic and hardworking mid-age candidates. There are rumors that DPT has only young candidates but that is not true. Since we have declared young candidates together they believe that way, but we have not announced our former MPs who bring in with them the experience,” Sangay Phurba added.

Lastly, PDP has 23 candidates with bachelors’ degree, 21 with masters’ degree and three PhD holders.

PDP’s Secretary General Jigme Zangpo said PDP has conscientiously worked towards attracting the best of the candidates to join their party and put together a formidable team of candidates.

“Such endeavors by the party primarily stems from our belief that good, credible leaders are not only necessary but also vital in the democratic process. The PDP has placed great importance on the candidates we offer as choices to the people,” he said.

“What is more important than winning an election is that people must have a pool of credible leaders to choose from? That choice of leadership in terms of qualification, experience, and credibility is what PDP is offering to the people of Bhutan. As a political party committed to strengthening our democracy, it is our responsibility to field the most capable and promising candidates who will work for the interest of the constituents and the nation at large,” Jigme Zangpo added.

PDP’s youngest candidate is 32, while the oldest is 64. The party has only two women representation – the only party with the least number of women representatives. PDP’s candidates come from different professional backgrounds such as hoteliers and businessmen, Dzongdags, Cabinet Secretary, MPs, Council Members, assistant auditor general, consultant, directors, educationists, managing directors, Dungpas, medical doctor, ICT expert, Ministers, Prime Minister, Secretary General, private employee, Head of Forest Fire Management Division, Department of Forest and Park Services, Chief Environment Officer, Registrar, Deputy Secretary General of BCCI, Banker and Director General.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu