Dechen Dolkar 

As the nomination of candidates is underway, the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the two political parties that will contest in the general elections, have decided not to switch candidates from other political parties.

Although the rules and regulations permit the switching of candidates after the primary elections, the two political parties have chosen to retain their original candidates for the general elections.

According to the rules of election conduct, a candidate for an elective office in Bhutan will not switch political parties during an election until after the conclusion of the primary round of elections.

The rules state that both the candidate and the political party, which the candidate is seeking to join, will submit an application to the Commission before the candidate is allowed to switch political parties, and provide all information and documents that the Commission may seek.

It further states that a candidate may only switch political parties after it has received the prior written approval of the Commission.

The Party President of BTP, Pema Chewang, said that he does not believe in horse trading because every party has its ideology, and their candidates also believe in the party’s ideology. “The party will not switch candidates.”

However, he said that the party would leave it up to the candidates. 

If the candidates feel uncomfortable in their constituency, they may withdraw their candidacy and offer it to another candidate. The party may accept this depending on the situation. 

Pema Chewang said that, so far, the party has not received any withdrawal application from candidates.

The general secretary of the PDP, Kuenga Tashi, said that the party deeply value the appreciation for the diverse perspectives and insights provided by all parties involved in the electoral process.

“Our focus is not on switching candidates, but on embracing collaborative wisdom and counsel from all corners,” he said.

He said that the party believes in the strength of a team comprised of individuals committed to the welfare and progress of Bhutan. “Our candidates have been chosen after careful consideration, not just for their capabilities, but for their dedication to serving our nation.”

Moving forward with the general election strategy, Pema Chewang said that the party must stick to its pledges to secure more seats. 

“We will work harder as a team.

Our strategy is in place and its evolving timely and concretizing, we are confident, “ the president said.

Kuenga Tashi said that the strategy revolves around a continuation of the party’s focus on the holistic development of Bhutan. 

“Our approach centers on ensuring that the comprehensive manifesto we offer is not merely a pledge but a steadfast promise to the citizens of Bhutan,” he said.

He said that this reflects the voices, hopes, and dreams of the citizens, guiding them towards a future that resonates with the needs of Bhutan and its people.

Both the political parties are confident in forming the government. 

Pema Chewang said that the party was formed to establish a government. “The results for the general round of elections will be determined by the maximum number of seats the party secures…We are not concerned about the significant differences in votes secured during the primary round.” 

Kuenga Tashi said that the party would strive even harder to meet and exceed the people’s aspirations, adding that this is not a moment to rest on laurels but a call to action and a reminder of the weight of responsibility on their shoulders.

“Our hope for the general elections is fuelled by optimism and a profound sense of duty towards the voters,” he said.