The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) issued the letter of acceptance to Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, and People’s Democratic Party yesterday to contest the primary round of the national assembly elections next month.

The representatives of the parties waited at the office of the commission’s secretary until late evening yesterday. In the other room, the ECB officials scrutinised the letters of intent the parties submitted.

The parties were asked to make certain changes to their manifestos and other documents and to resubmit With the issuance of the acceptance letter to contest the primary round by the commission, the parties will now embark on formal campaigning from today although as per the ECB schedule, the campaign period began yesterday.

BKP vice president and spokesperson, Sonam Tobgay said that with the Letter of Intent cleared, BKP will kick start its campaign from the Memorial Choeten led by the party president Neten Zangmo and senior party members.

“We resume work and sprint with greater confidence. Most candidates have left for their constituencies,” he said. He leaves for his constituency tomorrow after the flagging off ceremony.

Expecting the letter of acceptance from the commission earlier, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa had organised a youth convention, and the launch of the party’s manifesto at Hotel Migmar in Thimphu yesterday. The party will launch its campaign and manifesto today.

One of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa candidates, Tenzin Lekphel said that his party was excited and happy that all parties have qualified unlike in 2013. “We’re looking forward to healthy and positive elections. All parties are good parties and whoever wins people must win,” he said. “This election is not between the parties but for the people.”

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa president Pema Gyamtsho said that his party is excited to get an opportunity to participate in 2018 elections.

“We’ll do our best to do justice to the trust and confidence placed in us by the ECB,” he said.

He said that this is an opportunity for DPT to serve the King, country and the people in whatever role the outcome of the elections would assign to the party.

“We’ve full faith in the people of Bhutan to choose the best party that could serve the Tsawa-Sum,” he said.

PDP’s general secretary Jigme Zangpo said that this is the third time the ECB has issued PDP the clearance to contest the elections. He said that there were no difficulties and the process was smooth except for few multi-memberships of supporters.

“This was something the ECB and we had to sort out, and those with multi-membership of parties were deregistered,” he said. “Now we will go for a big launching of the campaign.”

Tshering Palden