The process for the third election to National Assembly has begun with the political parties submitting Letter of Intent (LoI) to the Election Commission of Bhutan. 

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) representatives, led by the party president Dr Lotay Tshering, submitted the party’s LoI on August 18, seven hours after the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) issued the notification calling the third national assembly elections.

DNT was the first political party to submit its LoI to the commission.

LoI confirms the parties’ intention to participate in the primary round of the election on September 15.

“We have been waiting for this day. It just shows that we are ready,” Dr Lotay Tshering said.

DNT’s media spokesperson, Dr Tandi Dorji, said the party was prepared and was waiting for the announcement from the commission. “All our 47 candidates have been in Thimphu for the last few days as we were getting ready to submit the LoI.”

As opposed to the previous election, this time the political parties are more prepared and experienced. In 2013 Parliamentary Elections, all five parties submitted letters of intent on the last day of the submission and some party representatives submitted their papers at 5pm sharp when the deadline closed.

The political parties, in accordance with the Election Act, are given seven days, starting from the date of issue of notification by the commission, to submit LoI. 

Political parties intending to contest National Assembly Elections have to submit LoI to the commission’s registrar of political parties latest by 5pm on August 21.

The LoI should include a tentative list of all 47 candidates who meet the required criteria, financial statement, a copy of the party’s election manifesto, list of party offices in dzongkhags and details of office bearers, and list of registered members by dzongkhag. It should also include websites and all social media accounts or addresses handled or used by the party and candidates.

ECB’s notification states that a registered political party may submit at the time of filing LoI, or earliest thereafter, the master copy of its proposed campaign materials so that the in-kind state-sponsored materials could be made available at the earliest possible. 

ECB’s secretary, Dawa Tenzin, said a committee would review the LoI and  put up to the commission.

The commission will undertake the scrutiny of the LoI filed by the political parties on August 22 as per procedure and the letter of acceptance or rejection of the LoI will be issued on the same day.

“I hope all will enter this field in an open and democratic manner and that all my colleagues will fight for this nation, not for individual parties and individuals,” Dr Lotay Tshering said. 

On the same day, the party appointed Phurba as its new general secretary for more efficient management of the party.

Since the formation of the party, Bartsham-Shongphu candidate Tenzin Lekhphell served as the party’s general secretary to date.

Dechen Tshomo