Political parties maintained that they have no problem in fielding candidates to represent their party in the 47 constituencies of the country with the third parliamentary elections approaching soon.
The Secretary General of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sonam Jatso said the party has got all the 47 candidates. “We are yet to announce the names as some of the candidates have not resigned and are in the process to resign. After that we will announce their candidature,” Sonam Jasto, who will be contesting from the Gangzur-Minjey constituency in Lhuentse, said.
“We have a good team of candidates, who are highly qualified and holds Ph.D and Masters. The candidates also have good working experience and hold good reputation in the society and these were some of the factors the party has looked for in a candidate along with their capability to win from their constituency and their achievements,” Sonam Jatso said.
He added that there are also excess candidates in few constituencies, such as two to three candidates wanting to join as the party’s candidate.
PDP already has 33 sitting MPs in the house, but it is not confirmed who would make it in the list for the 2018 elections. However, there are talks doing the round of some candidates being replaced due to age, retirement and performance.
The Prime Minister announced to the media during the 36th Meet-The-Press session that civil servants identified as candidates will be resigning soon to join the PDP. Going by media reports, a total of 14 new candidates have been announced till date.
The new entrants comprise cabinet secretary Kinzang Wangdi from Bartsham–Shongphu constituency in Trashigang, director general of the Department of Local Governance Lungten Dorji from Panbang constituency in Zhemgang, Trongsa Dzongdag Sonam Rinchen from Chumig–Ura constituency in Bumthang, and director general of the National Library Dorji Norbu from Nganglam constituency in Pemagatshel.
The new PDP candidates also include Gelephu Drungpa Sonam Tshering from Khar-Yurung constituency in Pemagatshel, Chief of Division of Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences Tashi Tobgay from Bumdeling–Jamkhar constituency in Trashiyangtse, Managing Director of Bhutan Power Corporation Gem Tshering from Dogar-Shaba constituency in Paro, Director of Thimphu City Bus Service Sonam Dhendup from Monggar constituency in Monggar, and Principal of Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School Karma Dukpa from Nanong–Shumar constituency in Pemagatshel.
Constituencies such as Chumey-Ura in Bumthang, Monggar, and Dogar-Shaba in Paro are presently represented by MPs from the opposition party.
On the replacement of some of the serving MPs, Sonam Jatso said he cannot say anything on the issue as the Prime Minister had said that it would happen at the end. “There is one more session for the parliament to sit,” he added.
However, two candidates of PDP, Lyonpo Jigme Zangpo from Monggar constituency and the Speaker of the National assembly and MP Mingbo Dukpa from Dewathang–Gomdar constituency in Samdrup Jongkhar will not be contesting because of the age factor.
And the former PDP candidate Tshering Choden, 46, has joined Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) as their candidate from Khar-Yurung constituency in Pemagatshel (in place of former health minister Zangley Dukpa).
The Secretary General of DPT, Ugyen Dorji said the opposition has also identified all their candidates and have no problem.
“We have excess number of candidates and we are not able to determine which candidates would be better,” he added. DPT has so far declared 20 new candidates through their Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the four candidates from DPT who would not be able to contest in the 2018 elections for reason being past their age for politics comprise MP Yeshey Zimba from South Thimphu constituency, MP Khandu Wangchuk from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, MP Zangley Dukpa from Khar-Yurung constituency in Pemagatshel, and MP Karma Rangdol from Gangzur-Minjey constituency in Lhuentse.
And some candidates who will not contest from DPT in the upcoming elections include MP Dechen Zangmo from Nanong-Shumar constituency in Pemagatshel (replaced by 33-year-old Lungten Namgyal), Kinley Dorji from Khamaed–Lunana constituency in Gasa (replaced by 26-year-old Dhendup), Rebecca Gurung from Samtse constituency in Samtse (replaced by KD Chamling), Lhatu from Wamrong – Khaling constituency in Trashigang (replaced by Karma Thinley), Kesang Wangdi from Khamdang – Ramjar constituency in Trashiyangtse (replaced by Kinga Loday), and Udya Chandra Bhandari from Sergithang-Tsirang Toed constituency in Tsirang.
Former DPT candidate Gyem Dorji from Nyisho-Sephu constituency in Wangduephodrang has also been replaced by Chimi Jamtsho, a senior personnel officer at PHPA II, and Passang Thrinlee from Athang-Thedtsho constituency in Wangduephodrang contested in the National Council elections this year and lost to incumbent Tashi Dorji.
And former information and communications minister and DPT’s candidate from Shompangkha constituency in Sarpang in 2013 elections, Nandalal Rai, has joined PDP for the 2018 elections. Similarly, Hemant Gurung, who contested from Lhamoidzingkha-Tashiding constituency in Dagana in 2013 elections from DPT, has joined DNT. DPT has announced Prem Kumar Khatiwara as their next candidate in place of Hemant Gurung.
The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) is also comfortable with the number and quality of their candidates, though the party has not revealed their names as of now. The party is preparing for its convention which is scheduled on May 13.
The Secretary General of DNT, Tenzin Lekphell said, “We have identified 47 candidates for the party and we are waiting for the right time to announce their names. Whether to announce their names in group or batch by batch is yet to be decided but soon the names will be revealed.”
He added that the list of the candidates comprises businessmen and a few civil servants. “The youngest in the party is 35 years old and 90% of the candidates are mostly between 40 to 50 years old,” he said.
The Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP), with its president as Dasho Neten Zangmo, has so far announced 16 new candidates with three women candidates through their Facebook page.
The party has not revealed as to how many candidates they have received so far received or if they are still headhunting for the candidates.
Chencho Dema from Thimphu