The Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) deregistered with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) yesterday.

Party president Lily Wangchuk told Kuensel that the decision was taken as per the agreement of the party’s founding members and candidates.

She said the decision was a difficult one. “Our founding members and candidates all agreed to deregister the party in a meeting held last December,” she said.

Sources said members of the deregistered party are expected to join the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and that negotiations to that effect have been ongoing for a few months now.

However, Lily Wangchuk said that she would announce her party’s future plans through a press release with proper reasons.

The ECB yesterday notified the public that DCT stood deregistered as a political party and that its name had been removed from the Register of Political Parties.

The DCT submitted a deregistration application on February 20.

The deregistration application was signed by 15 founding members, expressing their desire for deregistration as per Section 147(d) of the Election Act, 2008, according to which the ECB can remove the name of a party if it has intimated its desire to the commission to be struck off the Register of Political Parties.

The party was registered in January 2013 and garnered about 12,000 votes in the 2013 primaries.

However, the party was not be eligible for campaign fund from the state since it didn’t garner 10 percent of the popular vote. Without campaign funds from the state, the party had said it might not enjoy a level playing field with other political parties in 2018 elections.

The party had been able to retain almost all its members and previous candidates, according to the list of members maintained by the ECB.

One factor that affected DCT’s performance in the last election, claimed DCT members, was the negative and sexiest campaigning and false rumours created about DCT by other parties.

With the deregistration of DCT, there are now four parties – the People’s Democratic Party, DPT, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party – eligible to contest the upcoming elections.

An aspiring party Druk Gaki Tshogpa led by a former engineer Chheku Dukpa also known as Jackson Dukpa is awaiting registration with the ECB.  Jackson Dukpa filed his papers on February 9.

MB Subba