Twelve more aspiring candidates registered with the ECB in the last three weeks

As the third parliamentary election for National Council 2018 draws closer, the number of aspiring candidates wishing to contest for the elections is also increasing.

In less than three weeks, 12 aspiring National Council candidates registered with the Election Commission of Bhutan taking the number to 142 aspirants. Until, September 29, there were 128 aspirants.

With 20 aspiring candidates, Dagana has the highest number of aspirants. Lhamoidzingkha gewog has four aspiring candidates, three from Tseza, two each from Karna, Goshi, Largyab and Dorona gewogs and one each from Karmaling, Drukjeygang, Khebesa, Gesarling and Tsendagang gewogs.

Mongar has 14 aspiring candidates while Tsirang has 10. Punakha, Samdrupjongkhar, Trashigang and Sarpang have nine each. Lhuntse has eight candidates followed by Pemagatshel, Samtse and Thimphu registering seven candidates each.

Zhemgang and Gasa have six each, Chukha five, Paro four while Trashiyangtse, Wangduephodrang and Haa have three each. While Trongsa has two, Bumthang has only one aspiring candidate from Chhoekhor gewog as of now.

From 14 in Mongar, Tsakaling, Chagsakhar and Shermuhoog gewogs have two aspirants each. Drepoong, Mongar, Tsamang, Ngatsang, Narang, Dramedtse, Kengkhar and Balam have one each.

For Tsirang dzongkhag the aspiring candidates are two each from Gosarling and Tsholingkhar and one each from Tsirang Toed, Pungtenchhu, Kilkhorthang, Mendrelgang, Doonglagang and Barshong.

Of the nine candidates in Punakha, three are from Guma gewog, two each from Talog and Toedwang, and one each from Barp and Kabjisa gewogs.

There are two each from Serthi and Lauri, and one each from Wangphu, Samdrupjongkhar Thromde, Orong, Pemathang and Martshala gewogs in Samdrupjongkhar.

In Sarpang dzongkhag, two candidates each are from Serzhong, Shompangkha and Jigme Chhoeling while Gakiling, Chhuzangang and Gelephu Thromde have one each.

Of the nine in Trashigang, two each are from Samkhar and Udzorong and the rest are from Shongphu, Lumang, Radi, Bidoong and Thrimshing gewogs.

Among the eight in Lhuntse, two each are from Khoma and Menbi and the rest are from Kurtoe, Gangzor, Minjey and Jarey gewogs.

Shumar gewog alone has four aspiring candidates registered so for in Pemagatshel. Rest are from Khar, Norboogang and Nanong. There are seven candidates from the dzongkhag.

In Samtse, three are from Dophuchen and one each from Pemaling, Tading, Tendu and Doomtoed gewogs.

From seven aspiring candidates in Thimphu dzongkhag, five are from Thimphu Thromde while Genekha and Kawang gewogs have one each.

In Zhemgang, Phangkhar has two, and Trong, Ngangla, Nangkor and Goshing have one each. Of the six candidates in Gasa, four are from Khamaed and two from Laya gewog.

From five candidates in Chukha, Bongo has three while Geling and Bjachhog have one each.

The three registered aspiring candidates from Haa are from Kartsho, Bji and Sangbay gewogs. Bjena, Thedtsho and Wangdue Thromde have a candidate each for Wangdue Phodrang. Yangtse Throm has two while Ramjar in Trashi Yangtse has one candidate. The two candidates from Trongsa are from Draagteng and Nubi gewogs.

From the total, seven are female candidates registering from Bjagchhog gewog in Chhukha, Karna in Dagana, Tsamang in Mongar, Shumar in Pemagatshel, Guma in Punakha, Thimphu Thromde in Thimphu and Nangkor gewog in Zhemgang.

Among the 142, more than 90 have a Bachelors degree, about 20 have a Masters degree, and more than five are postgraduates, while one has a doctorate (PhD).

Some former parliamentarians including former National Assembly members have also registered to contest in the National Council election.

The contestants are likely to increase as more than 14 serving members of the National Council have so far confirmed to re-contest in the election. Except for six dzongkhags, the rest have decided to contest the election.

According to the Election Commission of Bhutan, the election process will begin from February and end in May 2018. The announcement was made early this March to ensure that aspiring candidates get more time to understand and prepare for the election.

Unlike in the past, the serving members can re-contest without having to resign from the office. In 2013, members who re-contested in the election had to resign before completing their tenure.

The Parliament made it possible for the incumbent members to re-contest without resigning by amending the National Council Act of 2008 in 2014. A provision was added as Section 15(A), which states: “A member of National Council intending to participate in the next National Council elections shall not be required to resign and may contest while in office.”

The current National Council members’ office ends on May 9, 2018 while the third National Council will be reconstituted on May 10.

Tenzin Namgyel