Kabisa-Talog, Punakha

Registered voters: 11,289 | Male: 5,271 | Female: 6,018

Tshering Dorji

Age: 61

Work experience: 32 years. Former Secretary, Ambassador to Thailand and Bangladesh, Managing Director of NHDC, Dzongdag of Samtse and Pemagatshel

Education: Master of Science in Management from Arthur D. Little School of Management, USA

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?

Having served the country as a civil servant for about 33 years, I felt that joining politics would provide me with an avenue to continue serving the country and people. While we see many younger people pursuing a career in politics, not many senior/older people are interested. I believe that for our democracy to succeed, we need good mix of younger and older/experienced people.

What is not democracy? 

Democracy is not criticizing and defaming other political parties and their candidates. Democracy is not trying to garner support through corrupt means. Democracy is not trying to win by hook or crook, including using threat and fear tactics. 

Should voters base their choice in an election on the candidate’s personality or promises? Why?

While the process are important, people must bear in mind that it is the candidate who has to deliver them, so they must base their choice on which candidates would be able to serve them better. 

What comes first – economic growth or democracy? 

While both are equally important, I believe that a strong and vibrant democracy will spur economic growth. 

Voters say BTP and PDP have mostly the same pledges. What makes your pledge stand out?

Since the pledges are mostly based on people’s needs, all parties will have similar once. For Bhutan Tendrel Party, while we also promise some freebies, our focus is more on improving public service delivery. We believe that we must create a conducive environment whereby people from all walks of life, be it the civil service, private sector, farmers etc will be able to work and function towards improving their prosperity and happiness.  

You won in the 2013 primary elections but your party lost. The party has won the primary elections this time but with a different candidate. How do you see your chances of winning?

I believe I have a good chance of winning. This is because people know me well and I have developed a good rapport with them since 2018. I trust in the people’s wisdom to choose the person who they believe will be best able to serve them. 

Namgyal Dorji

Age: 37

Work experience: 12 years of experience with the Foreign Ministry and service at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations  

Education: Master’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?

My passion for service has been the guiding force throughout my life, evident from my roles in bridging student-management gaps during my schooling and college years. Over 12 years in the Foreign Ministry, including representing Bhutan at the UN in New York, I promoted our nation’s sovereign interests and global standing. Additionally, I have served Bhutanese communities abroad, notably as President of the Australia-Bhutan Association of Canberra while pursuing my studies as an Australia Award recipient. Joining the PDP, known for its legacy of excellent public service, I aim to enact policies empowering our people to serve our nation with distinction.

What is not democracy? 

A system where there is an absence of fair representation or participation from the populace in decision-making processes, including lack of appreciation for diverse views in public discourse. We must never forget that this is antithetical to the founding values of our country championed by our peerless Monarchs who have collectively built on existing forms of societal and political solidarities in creating a consensus based and truly democratic polity and system of governance in our country. 

Should voters base their choice in an election on the candidate’s personality or promises? Why?

Examining both aspects are crucial. While a candidate’s personality would provide insight into their character and leadership style, evaluating their pledges and track record is more important since that is going to be the basis of their service if elected.

What comes first – economic growth or democracy? 

Does this have to a binary choice? I don’t think so. For example, despite being known as a monarchy for over a hundred years, our country was governed by enlightened monarchs based on principle of people engagement and mass consensus that have been ingrained into our societal and political fabric since Zhabdrung Rinpoche founded our country in the 17th century. So, given our rich political and societal traditions, we can have both economic growth and democracy in tandem by building mass consensus on our future growth aspirations as truly demonstrated by His Majesty during the National Day celebrations in Changlimithang where the whole country committed to work towards a prosperous future marked by a high level of economic growth. 

Voters say BTP and PDP have mostly the same pledges. What makes your pledge stand out?

For us, PDP’s manifesto is uniquely different. It’s a historic manifesto in the sense that PDP is the first party to take our manifesto to the next level by presenting it as a ‘Social Contract’ and ‘The Promise’ to be delivered, beyond mere platitudes and political gimmicks. Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures, and PDP is serious about Delivering all The Promises and living by the Contract in letter and spirit. 

You are new to politics and what advantage do you hold against your opponent?

I may be new to the electoral process. But I am a son of my community, born and brought up amidst them. I also had the singular privilege to serve my community and the country both nationally and internationally. My genuine connection with the people coupled with a proven record of distinctive services, and my still youthful and idealistic zeal to serve my community and country distinctively gives me a unique edge despite being in a constituency with a senior bureaucrat.

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