The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) introduced seven new candidates as the party’s front-runners to contest in the third parliamentary elections this year.
Of the seven candidates announced last week, three are former National Council members – Kaka Tshering from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, Sonam Dorji from Drukjeygang –Tseza constituency in Dagana (to replace MP Karma Dorji), and Sangay Khandu from Trashichhoeling constituency in Samtse (to replace MP Ritu Raj Chhetri).
Two secretaries; former cabinet secretary Kinzang Wangdi from Bartsham-Shongphu constituency in Trashigang and former foreign secretary Tshering Dorji from Kabji-Talo constituency in Punakha; Former Director of City Bus Service Sonam Dendup from Monggar constituency in Monggar (to replace speaker Jigme Zangpo) and the former chief environmental officer of Punatshangchhu project, Gonsar Karma Chhopel from Radhi-Sakten constituency in Trashigang, are among the seven candidates that PDP announced.
The ruling party has 33 members presently in the 47-member National Assembly.
Meanwhile, Business Bhutan as of now has learnt that PDP will be replacing around 13 of their serving MPs for the 2018 elections.
The names include MP Tshewang Jurmi from Chhumig –Ura constituency in Bumthang (to be replaced by Trongsa Dzondag Sonam Rinchen). Rumors are doing the rounds that MP Tshewang Jurmi will be joining Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party. MP Tshewang Jurmi, admitting that he has no knowledge about him being replaced, said he has no further comment.
Similarly, MP Gopal Gurung of Gelephug constituency, who would be replaced by Zhemgang Dzongdag Harka Singh Tamang, said he has no issue about the replacement. “I am going to be replaced and I am happy to be away from politics,” he added.
MP MK Chhetri from Ugyentse-Yoeseltse constituency in Samtse and MP Pelzang Wangchuk from Jomotshangkha constituency in Samdrup Jongkhar are also in the list of replacement.
MP MK Chhetri said he welcomed the replacement. “I have nothing to say and the party seems to have found better candidates and I welcome the replacement. I can’t be there permanently,” he said. He would be replaced by a businessman, Mani Pradhan.
Meanwhile, MP Pelzang Wangchuk said he had applied for resignation and he is satisfied with what he has done as an MP. “Whoever comes in my place will serve better than me,” he added. Dr. Lobzang is reportedly believed to replace him.
While Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, the labor minister from Lhamoi Dzingkha –Tashiding constituency in Dagana is on paid leave since January for alleged corruption cases in training programs facilitated by the ministry, it’s learnt that the minister might also be replaced.
MP Dophu Dukpa, who would be replaced by former foreign secretary Tshering Dorji from Kabji-Talo constituency in Punakha, said he had approached the agriculture minister since October last year and had suggested the former secretary as a suitable candidate for his replacement. “I really do not want to re-contest but want to venture into other businesses. On a mutual understanding I am leaving the party. My support will be there for the party as this is the only party I know since 2013,” he said, adding that it also meant the end of his political career.
MP Karma Dorji from Drukjeygang –Tseza constituency in Dagana said he is leaving for further studies and did not comment further. Rumors are rife that MP Karma Dorji might join Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa.
And for MP Rinzin Dorji from Sompangkha constituency in Sarpang and MP Kezang D Wangmo from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, the two candidates had voluntarily asked for replacement. While MP Rinzin Dorji did not cite any reason for his resignation, MP Kezang D Wangmo, it’s learnt, is planning to pursue higher studies.
The Secretary General of the PDP, Sonam Jatso said feedbacks on some MPs are not good and continuous assessment is being done presently.
He said, “We have already announced new candidates in place of a few MPs who will not be re-contesting in the upcoming elections. We will be announcing a few more soon. Decision on a candidate, whether new or replacement of the serving MPs, is made collectively and not by the party president alone. Based on the assessment report, the executive committee makes the final decision.”
Sonam Jatso also agreed that a few more serving MPs would be replaced but refused to give their names. “Since more than two years earlier, the PM had informed the MPs who did not have positive feedbacks to work harder and serve better.” he said.
Meanwhile, two MPs confirmed not to contest the upcoming elections because of the age factor eligible for politics are Mingbo Dukpa from Dewathang – Gomdar constituency in Samdrup Jongkhar and Speaker Jigme Zangpo from Monggar constituency in Monggar.
Chencho Dema from Thimphu