The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) secretariat is waiting for an endorsement of Terms of Reference (ToR) for its president to call a General Assembly to elect a new party president.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering currently holds the post of party president although the party’s charter does not allow a person to both the posts.

The party’s general secretary, Phurba, said the ToR would outline the roles of the president and his working  relationship with the prime minister.

The ToR, he said, would provide a modality that would help prevent overlapping of responsibilities and avoid possible conflicts.

However, the ToR is subject to endorsement by a new executive committee, the highest decision making body of the party.

“Presidential candidates are nominated by the executive committee and we decided that a new committee should be formed to do that. We have started receiving nominations for membership of the committee,” he said.

The election of a new president, Phurba hopes, would strengthen intra-party democracy. Having different persons for the two posts would enable the party to choose the leader for the next election in a fair manner.

The general secretary said the election could be held sometime next month.

All registered members are entitled to vote for a presidential candidate, according to the general secretary. DNT had over 11,000 members as of 2018.

The party members feel that the move will set a right precedent since governance and politics will be separated. “This is a new system we are bringing in our democracy,” he said.

The first two prime ministers had kept the post of party president. The responsibilities of the party president include providing effective leadership and representing the party at various national and international forums.

Party members feel that not allowing the prime minister to hold the post of president will enable the Prime Minister to focus on governance. Party officials said the party president would work closely with the cabinet.

Election of a new president outside of the government, according to some party members, will keep the party alive and vibrant to pursue its goal of “narrowing the gap.”

MB Subba