MB Subba 

The newly launched political party, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT), is expected to provide one more choice to the Bhutanese electorate in the next parliamentary elections.

However, DTT will be recognised as a political entity legally only if the election commission accepts its application for registration, which the party plans to do within a month.

The aspiring party is branding itself to be a better choice than the existing parties, all of which are expected to contest the upcoming elections. The party, DTT officials say, has learnt from the mistakes and weaknesses of the established parties.

The newly elected party president, Kinga Tshering, said one of the party’s unique features would be that it would adopt a bottom-up approach in the decision-making process through consultation with the people.

Another unique component of the party’s structure, he said, would be the formation of a parliamentary coordination committee that will comprise members who are not elected to Parliament.

The committee would monitor and evaluate the functions of the elected members and recommend action against non-performing members at the party’s convention should the party form a government.

“One of the common complaints that we have come across is that non-elected members are left out without a role,” he said.

The committee, he said, would ensure the longevity of the party while putting pressure on the elected members to perform. He added that the party had carried out research on the issue and that implementation of the system would strengthen democratic values and practices.

The DTT’s vice president, Chenga Tshering (PhD), said the party was determined to contest the upcoming elections. He said that most of the candidates have been confirmed.

Some social media users criticised DTT as a splinter party as some of its members including its president and vice president were previously associated with the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).

However, DTT officials say that the party had roped in candidates and coordinators from various political backgrounds. DTT officials also boast of having highly educated and experienced candidates some of whom they say are currently in countries like Australia, the USA and New Zealand.

A close observer of political developments said that it would be unfair to link DTT with the Opposition Party as the members have left their former party. “I think the party has come up with its own ideology and plans.”

He said that the entry of DTT would have some impact on the national political scenario. He reasoned that people who are not satisfied with the performance of existing parties were looking for better parties to vote for.

He added that the formation of DTT could also affect Opposition Party’s votes.

However, a DPT official said that genuine supporters of DPT generally would not support those who have left DPT to join new parties. “We are not very worried about our support base being shaken by the formation of DTT,” he said.

The Bhutanese voters have chosen three parties as the ruling party on as many occasions.

If the election commission accepts it as a political party, DTT will be the first registered party in about 10 years. Two interest groups had applied for registration with the election commission in 2017 but did not qualify as political parties.

DTT officials said they were confident to get the party registered with the election commission.

Chenga Tshering said Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa is a “realisation of the wishes, hopes and aspirations of supporters representing Bhutanese across the country”.

The party say that supporters and members will not only breathe new life into the country’s “battered economy today but weather with greater resistance in the face of any such calamity in future”.