While the Political Parties Rules 2015 states that all office bearers of a political party should be elected, some parties choose them through consensus of party members.

For instance, Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) announced former chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Dasho Neten Zangmo as the party’s new president on May 29, three days after she joined the party. The new president was chosen through consensus of an intra-party meeting.

Rule 7.4 of the political party rules states that a party shall conduct elections at regular intervals to elect the party leader and other office-bearers. Rule 7.5 adds, “A political party shall submit to the Commission (ECB), the results of intra-party election, with details of the total number of votes cast and the number of votes secured by each contestant for all of its party office-bearers, and a copy of the Party’s notifications declaring the results of the election.”

BKP’s general secretary Karma Jimba said that the intra-party meeting held on May 29 decided that Dasho Neten Zangmo would be their president.

BKP’s charter prescribes that all members to the national executive committee should be elected through secret ballots. The committee shall be constituted by a minimum of 15 and not more than 21 members “elected” for a period of five years or as deemed necessary by two third members of the party.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) said, “Election of office bearers have to follow the standard procedures adopted in the respective charters guided by the electoral laws with due diligence which the stakeholders are being reminded to do in the due course of time.”

ECB also stated that all existing parties and ones that are in the making are in varying phases of preparation for participation in the third parliamentary elections.

One of the two parties in the making, Druk Gaki Tshogpa, is yet to elect their party office bearers. It is planning to register with ECB within this month.

The party’s promoter, Cheku Dukpa, said he would soon call a convention. Another newly formed party, Druk Kuenphen Tshogpa claims that it has “elected” all office bearers.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa is expected to hold elections to elect a fresh set of office bearers before the upcoming elections. Its annual general meeting “elected” him as the party president about one and a half years ago after the party’s former president Dorji Choden left the party to join People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“Our new president can be either Dr Tandi Dorji or someone else,” the party’s general secretary Tenzin Lekphel said.

The People Democratic Party’s (PDP) is expected to hold elections for its office bearers next year. PDP general secretary Sonam Jatso said all office bearers, including the current president and vice president, were elected.

The party forms a working committee that consults and processes nomination of office bearers. He said the list of nominated members then goes to the executive committee for discussion and debate and the short listed names are submitted to the national convention where voting takes place for the final election.

“After the 2013 elections, PDP had a time-bound working committee who nominated me and other office bearers,” he said. He said the current office bearers were elected at a small party convention at the NRDCL hall in Thimphu, after the general elections.

He said the procedure of choosing dzongkhag coordinators and gewog coordinators is almost the same. “In this case, instead of a working committee, we have a dzongkhag committee under the chairmanship of a minister for two dzongkhags, who processes the nomination and carry out consultations,” he said.

MB Subba