Announces three candidates

The national convention of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held yesterday at the Youth Development Fund hall in Thimphu re-elected party president Tshering Tobgay as the party’s president, and elected Thrimshing MP Dorji Choden as Vice President.

The lone candidate for the post of president received 389 “Yes” votes and 62 “No” votes. MP Dorji Choden, also the lone candidate for vice president, received 378 “Yes” votes and 71 “No” votes.

A total of 449 members cast their vote for the post of vice president and 451 for president.

According to the party, Khatoed_Laya MP Damcho Dorji resigned as the vice president to pave way for a woman leader to promote gender equality.

The convention comes eight months before the completion of the government’s tenure.

Speaking to the gathering of party workers from all 20 dzongkhags, Party president Tshering Tobgay said that 2018 elections would be different from past elections. He also highlighted PDP’s role as the Opposition during the first democratically elected parliament and its achievements as the ruling party.

“The other party wanted to completely uproot PDP and win in all 47 constituencies,” he said. “However, the opportunity to govern the country was ultimately given to us.”

Most of the Cabinet members and parliamentarians, he said, were fairly young with no experience of having served in the Cabinet. “I didn’t have the experience of serving as a government secretary. That cast doubt among some people about our ability to govern the country.”

The government, he said, lived up to its promises and served the country with humility. The government has completed four years and as many months in power.

“The government had to amend some parts of the 11th Plan and also look for funds after we took over,” he said. He added that the government has achieved most of the 11th Plan objectives.

“People appreciate because whatever we promised are being delivered,” he said. He said that although planning for the election was important, it was more important to serve the people for the remaining eight months of the government’s tenure.

The president said that the government was not obsessed with power and elections and that it wants to serve the country until the last day of its term in office. Bhutanese democracy, he said, was different from others in many ways.

He said, “Bhutanese democracy is not about power and making money. It is about serving the King, country and people. If we promise, we have to deliver. Otherwise, we would be lying to the people.”

The party said that about 90 percent of its promises have been fulfilled and wants to win the election again.

Vice President Dorji Choden said that the party needed to plan its strategy for the upcoming elections.

“We have to plan for the election with the aim of winning, not just for the sake of participation,” she said.

She directed the party workers to convey the government’s achievements to every corner of the country. “There are wrong messages and rumours (being spread by other parties). We have to convey the truth.”

Kanglung_Samkhar_Udzorong MP Norbu Wangchuk said that the drafting of the 12th Plan was the main responsibility of the government before leaving office. He said that the government would try and secure funds for the 12th Plan.

“We had to look for funds for the implementation of the 11th Plan when we took over in 2013,” he said, adding that there were no worries about securing funds for the 12th Plan since the PM has developed good relations with the leadership in India.

The party’s general secretary, Sonam Jatsho, said that PDP has established itself as a reliable party with a clean image.

“It will be the most defining election,” he said. “The aim of other parties is to defeat our party and form the government. It won’t be easy for us.”


Candidates announced    

At the convention, the party also announced three new candidates. Sonam Jatso for Gangzur-Minjey constituency in Lhuentse, Tandin Dorji for South Thimphu, and Tobgay (PhD) for Drametse-Ngatshang of Mongar.

After offering khadaar to the new candidates, party president Tshering Tobgay said that 16 constituencies, including Dewathang-Gomdar (represented by Mingbo Dukpa) and Mongar (represented by Speaker Jigme Zangpo), needed to be filled with candidates. The two serving members will not qualify to contest again due to age.

The president added that more vacancies might arise if some of the existing ministers and MPs are replaced. “A few of them may need to be replaced.”

The president said that ministers or MPs could be replaced on account of either non-performance or lack of popularity among the constituents.

MB Subba