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Party conventions – more than endorsing office bearers?

Dubbed the country’s biggest multi-purpose hall, the RIM hall in Thimphu has become a platform for political parties to showcase their support base in the form of crowd just ahead of the National Assembly elections.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is organising a second party convention in nine months today at RIM. The party’s convention in November 2017 had elected president Tshering Tobgay and vice president Dorji Choden in the YDF hall.

Parties are mandated to hold a convention, which are normally held for electing office bearers, once every year. But their charters allow the executive committee to call more than one convention in a year.

A PDP media official said that the national convention was required as per electoral laws and that it must be held. The gathering, he said, will endorse office bearers including the president.

The party will also introduce all 47 candidates at one go. Party officials said they are expecting a sizable number of party supporters, members and well-wishers to attend the gathering.

PDP also organised a women’s national invention in June.

Weeks after it held its general convention, Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) is organising a gathering of youth in RAPA hall in Thimphu today afternoon. At its convention, the party claimed about 6,000 people had gathered.

Dasho Neten Zangmo was endorsed as the party president much before the convention.

A Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) member said that the three parties wanted to showcase their strength in numbers after his party attracted a large gathering. Party conventions otherwise, he said, are held mainly to elect party office bearers.

His party, he said, had to call the general convention since it needed to elect a new party president. Dr Lotay Tshering took over from Dr Tandi Dorji the party’s top post in its convention held in May.

DNT members say organising conventions are an expensive affair.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) also held its general assembly on July 19, 10 months after it had elected Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) as president.

Although the party didn’t officially announce how many people had gathered for the assembly, some of its members claimed on social media that about 5,500 showed up.

The party’s spokesperson Dorji Wangdi said only registered members attended the general assembly, denying it was organised for publicity and to show the party’s support base. “People thought many supporters came, which was not the case,” he said.

The general assembly is the highest policy-making body providing authority, control, and direction for the party, according to the party’s charter.

DNT members were in Phuentsholing yesterday as part of its efforts to meet the people and infuse enthusiasm among its supporters and observers. The party also organised a similar gathering in Wangdue, where it claimed that about 800 people gathered.

MB Subba

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