Save for Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), all the other three parties have finalised their 47 candidates.

Political parties must submit a tentative list of candidates along with the letter of intent to the election commission to be eligible to contest the primary. Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) was disqualified to contest the primary round in 2013 when it failed to produce candidates from both the constituencies of Gasa. 

DPT is yet to finalise its 47th candidate from Samtse’s Dophuchen-Tading constituency. General secretary Sangay Phurba said the party has identified a candidate for Dophuchen-Tading constituency.

Sangay Phurba said the party finalised its candidates from Khatoed-Laya constituency in Gasa and Haa’s Bji-Kartshog-Uesu constituency on July 26. The candidates would be introduced tomorrow at the general assembly to be held in the multi-purpose hall of Royal Institute of Management (RIM). 

According to the general secretary, DPT will introduce 46 candidates at the general assembly, which is expected to be attended by members and supporters from all 20 dzongkhags. This will be the second such gathering in less a year after the party had held its third general convention in Thimphu in September last year. 

The general assembly, he said, is expected to endorse Lily Wangchuk as an additional president, in which case DPT will have three vice presidents. The party already has two vice presidents – MP Ugyen Wangdi and MP Dorji Wangdi. 

Party conventions have become a platform for parties to showcase support from the people. In the recently held party conventions, BKP claimed that about 6,000 people attended its convention at the RIM multi-purpose hall, while Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) claimed that over 2,000 had gathered. 

A DPT candidate, however, said that he was expecting a crowd of about 3,000 people. 

The official capacity of the hall, considered the biggest multi-purpose hall in the country, is 2,500. 

With People’s Democratic Party (PDP) declaring former managing director of Bhutan Power Corporation Gem Tshering as their candidate from Dogar-Shaba constituency of Paro on August 26, the party has confirmed all 47 candidates. 

Including labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo from Dagana’s Lhamoizingkha constituency, PDP has replaced 13 serving MPs, who are eligible to contest. 

DPT has replaced two serving MPs – Wangdi Norbu from Bartsham-Shongphu constituency and Jigme Wangchuk from Radhi-Sakteng constituency, both in Trashigang. The party has retained most of the former candidates.

BKP spokesperson Sonam Tobgay said his party has finalised a tentative list of all 47 candidates as announced at the party convention on July 21 constituting well-experienced and qualified candidates. “We are a political party that holds the highest women representation close to 15 percent and proud to have Dasho Neten as our president,” he said. 

Some of the candidates announced earlier, including Singye Namgyel (PhD) from Khar-Yurng constituency of Pemagatshel, resigned and have been replaced by new candidates.  

Sonam Tobgay said, “When candidates encounter unavoidable circumstances, one cannot force them to stay. BKP offered a platform to serve the country and if people decide to discontinue we can only wish them well.” 

DNT was the first party to announce all 47 candidates, with the announcement of 39-year-old Namgay Tshering from Dogar-Shaba constituency. They announced 46 candidates together in June. 

MB Subba