MB Subba

The Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) yesterday submitted its application to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) to register as a new political party.

The party is preparing to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections, which will begin at the end of 2023. However, whether or not the party will be registered will be decided by ECB in the coming days.

Along with the registration application, the party president, Kinga Tshering, submitted tentative lists of 47 candidates and 20 dzongkhag coordinators.

The application was received by the ECB’s secretariat director, Phub Dorji, in Thimphu.

The party had held its first general convention on May 2 in Paro, where the party president and other office bearers were elected.

The DTT president also submitted its party charter and logo. He said that DTT had a total of 1,700 supporters across the country.

“We have submitted all the required documents to the ECB as per the Election Act and the election commission’s advice,” he said after filing the documents.

The country will have five political parties if the ECB decides to register DTT. It will also be the first registered party in about 10 years as no political parties have been registered since the 2013 elections.

Although it did not reveal its candidates, party officials say that their candidates come from various professional and political backgrounds.

Sources said that some of the candidates are tentative and that they could be replaced.

According to the election Act, an application for registration of a political party shall be made to the ECB within a month of the formation of the party.

The aspiring party must demonstrate that the party is “broad-based with cross-national membership and support, and is committed to national cohesion and stability”.

The election Act empowers the ECB to refuse to register a party if the commission feels that the party has not fulfilled all the criteria prescribed by the Act.

However, the commission gives the party’s representatives a “reasonable opportunity of being heard”.

A press release from the party stated that since electing its president, vice president and other office-bearers three weeks ago, the party was engaged in refining its charter and enlisting its members across the country.

It stated that having fulfilled key requirements to register as a legitimate political entity, the party hoped to be scrutinised and reviewed for formal recognition by ECB.

“We deem the solemn process a major step in offering the Bhutanese electorate a choice in the next elections,” it stated.

Two interest groups had applied for registration with the election commission in 2017 but did not qualify as political parties.