Party in Focus: Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT)

 Business Bhutan reporter Lucky Wangmo talks to Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) about its expectations, candidates,

Business Bhutan reporter Lucky Wangmo talks to Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) about its expectations, candidates, leadership and prospects as the next parliamentary elections loom near.

(Note: The party spokesperson did not want to be named)

1.With 2018 elections approaching, what expectations does DCT have? 

Answer: We may not have a level playing field with other parties in 2018 elections without campaign funds from the Election Commission of Bhutan. However, that will not deter us since many of our candidates are willing to fund their own campaigns. In the last election, DCT probably was the cleanest party without a single record of any wrong doings related to bribery, corruption or violation of any rules. We strictly followed all the rules laid out. Similarly in future elections too, we intend to remain ethical and will contest on our ideas for positive change in our country and capability, which will not require much funds. We sincerely hope to be able to connect with people with our ideas and approach of taking Bhutan closer to the vision of our benevolent Monarchs rather than through dirty politics. With more informed citizens we are hopeful our citizens will use their wisdom with their votes rather than voting based on personal connections, gains or interests. Given the positive trend, we are confident of performing better in 2018 elections.

2.Currently the party president is a female. Do you think people will have reservations about supporting the party because of this?

Answer: In 2013 with barely three months of effort, DCT managed to attract substantial support, particularly people from humble background, women and youth. Our popularity in a short period of time led other political parties to target our party with numerous false rumors created about the President & the Party besides carrying out sexist campaign against DCT. People may not have reservations about female leadership but the sexist campaign carried out by male led political parties greatly affects voter’s confidence in female leadership. Further, because we have had mainly older men as leaders in the past, people’s perception of leaders is narrowly limited to older men with limited confidence in women and youth which during elections gets further aggravated with sexist campaign. The role of women in democracy is very important. Many research studies have proven that women with their inborn selfless, compassionate qualities can make very good leaders. Furthermore, most policies in the past formulated mostly by men have resulted in unintended consequences, today resulting in numerous social issues. Thus, women’s perspective and role in politics and governance is pertinent and absolutely necessary. As a result, we nominated and elected a female President who is not only the strength of our party but has also attracted large number of women supporters in DCT.

3.How many candidates – confirmed and prospective do you have right now?

Answer: Almost all our candidates from the last election are still with us with greater wisdom and experience. While we had a good mix of candidates of all age groups in the last elections, many believed our candidates were all young. Thus, this time we have succeeded in bringing on board many older candidates who have replaced some of our younger candidates. However, some of our young dynamic candidates will also continue as we value the fresh perspectives and ideas from our youth. As for the older prospective/confirmed candidates we are deliberately delaying any announcement for strategic reasons and taking into consideration their personal challenges with early announcement.

4.What are the main challenges that you foresee for your party and how would you go about it?

Answer: Our biggest challenge is lack of funding for our campaign. Furthermore, as a party that is more focused on common people, we do not have any rich supporters to prevent any conflict of interest. However, we will try to manage within our own limited resources with greater dependence on our sincere pledges and integrity and people’s wisdom.

6.What are DCT’s unique strengths?

Answer:Our strength is female leadership who left her comfort zone to selflessly serve Tsa- Wa-Sum which is further backed up with large growing support from women and youth.

7.In the political scenario right now, DCT is not exactly seen as one of the stronger or more active parties. What do you have to say about this?

Answer: One cannot define the strength of a party based on visibility. DCT has been formed for those which voices have not been heard which includes the common people, women and youth. Thus, on issues of significant importance, we made our voices known and also took up with policy makers. However, we remained silent on issues that we felt was not of great significance or issues already voiced out by other parties as it didn’t make sense to join the band wagon if its not particularly significant or if our voices are not going effect any change. On the other hand, such impression maybe helpful as we will not become the main targets of other parties like it did in 2013 with our increasing support which got affected with negative campaigning by other parties. DCT is around and will remain a strong contender for 2018 elections.