A former Prime Minister, National Council member, and thrompon are up against two new faces.

Ugyen Penjore 

South Thimphu, despite having a voter population of less than 10,000, plays a significant role for all five political parties and their supporters. The constituency spans from Dagala, bordering Dagana, to Jiminang and lower Changzamtog.

The constituency is presenting a prime ministerial candidate and potentially three ministerial candidates, although some may withdraw after November 30.

Lotay Tshering, the President of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), is contesting from Wang Sisina area and is expected to continue as the Prime Minister if DNT, focusing on continuity, remains the ruling government.

Bhutan Tendrel Tshogpa (BTP) has already committed to awarding a ministerial post to its candidate, Tandin Tshering, if they win. The other three parties have not discussed ministerial candidates, but based on the experience of their candidates, both People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) could offer significant posts to their candidates if they win the primary round.

Tshewang Rinzin of PDP, a former Dzongdag of Thimphu and a National Council representative from 2018-2023, is one of the senior members of the party with extensive experience. DTT’s candidate, the former two-time Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee, is considered popular in south Thimphu, particularly in the south thromde and chiwogs on the outskirts of the capital city.

While voters will cast their votes for political parties and not individual candidates in the primary round, the outcome in South Thimphu will depend on support bases in rural Thimphu, in the gewogs.

With only 9,656 eligible voters, the maximum number of voters is in the Chang area, where 2,314 eligible voters will vote at Loselling Middle Secondary School. The next highest is in the Babesa and Semtokha area, with 1,095 eligible voters expected to vote at Babesa Primary School. There are 6,100 voters outside Chang and Bap, with the highest in the Khasadrapchu area, where 1,051 eligible voters reside. Jiminang, from where DPT’s Sangay Tshering hails, has 692 votes. Observers closely monitoring the election believe that what happens beyond the thromde area could decide the results.

Kinlay Dorjee and Tandin Tshering are from the Chang and Bap area, with the former thrompon and prime minister related through marriage and sharing the same support base. Lotay Tshering, although registered in Dalukha village, Maedwang gewog, extends his influence in the thromde, having married into a Bap family before becoming the prime minister.

While Lotay Tshering’s achievements as the former prime minister are seen as an advantage, observers also note that how he addresses accusations made by other parties during their campaign will also matter. “There are voters who could be unhappy or looking for change,” said an observer.

The New Face

With deep roots in the ground, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s Sangay Tshering could spring a surprise by winning a majority of votes from at least two polling stations. The youngest among the five, hailing from Tsheluna and having led a cooperative, cannot be ruled out.

Sangay Tshering is believed to have a strong family network that holds influence in lower south Thimphu. “His network and influence expand from Jiminang to Genekha,” said a close observer. “It might be late for him to enter the political arena, but he could still spring a surprise,” said the observer, claiming Sangay’s network and influence determined the National Council election results earlier this year.