To keep track of parties’ preparation for the upcoming National Assembly elections, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has asked all four parties to submit a list of tentative candidates.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) have submitted the names of their candidates to the ECB. DNT has submitted a list of all 47 candidates.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) officials said the party is yet to submit their list of tentative candidates, while People’s Democratic Party (PDP) did not respond to Kuensel.

ECB officials did not share with Kuensel if PDP has submitted its list of tentative candidates. However, the commission would not treat those declared by the parties as candidates until the general round of election.

Kuensel learnt that some of the identified candidates have not yet registered with the party. The party cannot submit the name of a candidate even if he has accepted the offer unless he or she registers as a member.

BKP general secretary Dawa Rinchen said that his party submitted a list of 40 candidates two weeks ago. “Now, we have finalised 46 candidates. We will soon confirm our candidate for Trashigang’s Bartsham-Songphu, the last remaining constituency,” he said.

DPT general secretary Sangay Phurba said that the candidature of 45 candidates have been confirmed as of yesterday. He said candidates in the two remaining constituencies – Samtse’s Dophuchen-Tading and Khatoed Laya of Gasa – would be confirmed soon.

“Candidates for the two remaining constituencies have been identified. They have asked us to wait a bit. We will soon declare them,” Sangay Phurba said.

DPT has retained most of its present and former MPs as candidates for the upcoming election. The present DPT MPS that will be replaced are Wangdi Norbu from Bartsham-Shongphu constituency and Jigme Wangchuk from Radhi-Sakteng, both in Trashigang.

According to the party, four of its candidates have a PhD degree, sixteen have masters and 27 have a Bachelors degree. The youngest candidate is 28 years old and the oldest is 59.

Coordinators from various parts of the country were in Thimphu for a two-day meeting that ended on July 2. The party leadership briefed the coordinators about the party’s election strategy and dos and don’ts as party coordinators.

BKP general secretary Dawa Rinchen said that the party would be organising a workshop for its candidates from July 9 – 31 in Thimphu. The workshop will help the candidates develop and improve their skills that are required to be a good politician.

“They will learn public speaking, facing the camera and how to campaign among other skills. We should have all 47 candidates that time,” he said.

BKP is preparing to face the election for the first time. The election commission in 2013 had denied the party a chance to contest elections just ahead of the primary due to lack of candidates in Gasa. “We are fully prepared for the election,” he said.

Party manager of DNT Phurba said that most of the candidates are in the field. He said there are no changes in the candidates that were announced in the media earlier.

The youngest candidate is 25-year-old Yeshi Dem from Khamaed-Lunana constituency and the oldest is Dasho Sherub Gyaltshen, 63, from Mongar constituency. Of the 47 candidates, 12 contested as DNT candidates in 2013.

The parties will also be required to submit their list of candidates along with a letter of intent ahead of the primary round.

MB Subba