Dechen Dolkar

With only a few months left before the National Council (NC) elections, Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) conducted a two-day leadership workshop to prepare women NC aspirants in Thimphu.

However, only four aspiring female candidates could attend the workshop.

Tshering Tshomo, 39, is an aspiring candidate from Zhemgang. She completed a Bachelor of Education and worked as a teacher for more than 11 years.

She said that she was brought up in the village and she knows the issues in her dzongkhag.

“For three terms, we have given the opportunity to men and now it is my responsibility to come forward to represent the women from my dzongkhag,” she said.

Dechen Lhaden, 43, will be contesting from Sarpang. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA). She worked at Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited (NDRCL) for more than 20 years.

She said that women are capable in their own way, and for NC candidature it required strong and competent candidates to represent the people.

Dorji Wangmo, 46, is an aspiring candidate from Mongar. She has a Master’s in Management and she also worked with NRDCL for more than 21 years.

She said that it is the right age for her to contest in the NC elections, where she can connect with both youth and older populations. “I also have good experience in government service.”

Samten Zangmo, 39, is an aspiring candidate from Tsirang. She has a BA in Language and Literature. She worked with the Institute of Media, and also in a private firm.

She said that women have more responsibilities and are capable of shouldering multiple tasks. “I contest to bring change.”

Namgay Pem, 37, is an aspiring candidate from Sarpang. She completed BBA and worked in corporations for more than nine years and is an entrepreneur.

All of them have completed the familiarisation tour in their dzongkhags.

The aspiring candidates claim that they are almost prepared for the upcoming elections.

“We understand all the roles and responsibilities as the NC member, in which we can represent them and address the issue,” aspirants said.

NC aspirants also said that though NC has no power over the budget, they also have equal responsibility for the development activities in the dzongkhags.

More than 130 NC aspirants have registered for upcoming elections, to date.

With the two incumbent NC members re-contesting, so far there are seven aspiring female candidates.

In 2018, there were eight aspiring female candidates for the NC elections.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has also notified aspiring candidates intending to contest for upcoming elections to process documents.

The current NC began their term on May 10, 2018. Their five-year term will end tentatively on May 9, 2023.