The proposed Bhutan Tendrel Tshogpa’s president, Dasho Pema Chewang, talks to Kuensel’s Rinzin Wangchuk after applying for the party’s registration as a political party to ECB yesterday.

Why did you decide on Bhutan Tendrel Tshogpa?

In our culture tendrel marks the onset of a journey and it is aimed at cultivating an auspicious and effective beginning. It marks the onset of the process in tandem with the proper conditions such as time, place, company, motivation, and intention. One cultivates the right intention and aspirations to kick off the process. Bhutan is at a cusp of change and a new era has begun. We intend to consecrate this new era with tendrel and move with the change for a prosperous Bhutan.

You are going to be the only Party President from the eastern region. Is it a deliberate strategy of your party?

I think it’s more appropriate to say that I represent a political party of Bhutan in the offing. Bhutan Tendrel Tshogpa is formed with the vision to fulfil the aspiration of the Bhutanese people and for national progress.

Your party has decided not to recruit any candidates who were affiliated with other political parties. Who would be your ideal candidate? Will there be enough candidates given your conditions and the Election Commission of Bhutan’s (ECB)  new rules on candidate qualification?

That’s not true. We are looking for candidates who are not only capable but humble and especially those who can empathise with common people. We have been receiving quite a number of interested candidates but we are being very careful in choosing our candidates. We already have a good set of representation in all constituencies from diverse background and expertise yet sharing a common vision for our country and one who can feel the pulse of the nation.

In the past elections, people say that name-dropping has been used by a few political parties to gain an advantage. What is your stand on this? How would your party behave should others continue to resort to this strategy?

I can’t say about other parties. As far as Bhutan Tendrel Tshogpa is concerned we will emerge as one of the cleanest parties in the political fray. We will fight the elections on the grounds of our pledges, ideology and more importantly by fair means.

Where will your party headquarters be based? In Thimphu or Trashigang?

We will have our head office in Thimphu but we will soon be establishing our offices in the dzongkhags as well.

How many of your candidates would be women and youth?

We have a good representation but it is extremely difficult to find women candidates. However, we don’t intend to give seats based on sex and ethnicity but purely on merit.

Being a new party, how would your party fund the campaign and party’s activities?

This is challenging for the new party with a small membership base. We will have to optimize the use of state funding and maximize the impact.