It was all men and there were about 50 of them attending the public debate at Paro among the dzongkhag’s five National Council candidates yesterday.
Many who attended the debate said it was crucial for them to be able to gauge the capability and experience of each of the candidates based on which their votes would be cast and not based on personal relations.
Lotey, 55, from Isuna who arrived three hours early for the debate, said he had come to ask the candidates of the one issue they would focus on if elected.
“It’s important this time to scrutinise people before voting for them,” he said. “During the 2008 elections, people were unaware of what attributes to look for in a candidate, when making a choice.”
It was because of that he said many people were disappointed with their representatives.
Some of their elected Parliament members, he said did not even return their greetings when they met.
“The power to elect is now in the people’s hands again,” he said. “We must not allow people incapable of keeping contacts with the grassroots to come into power.”
Sonam Tshering, 62, of Wangcha gewog, said he had come to attend the debate because it was not the same as watching it on television.
He said he wanted to learn more about the candidates’ behaviours, which the people would most certainly miss on the screen.
“I’m still undecided whom to vote for,” he said. “The debate has helped me narrow down my choices.”
Competence and experience he said were the two factors that would influence his vote.
“Even if a person is capable, the capability aspect has to be backed by experience,” he said.
Some like Ugyen Tshering, 33, of Dopshari had already come to the debate knowing who he was going to vote for.
He said the debate had not changed his decision as he felt all candidates performed about the same.
While he refused to share what it was that he looked for in a candidate, he pointed out that he appreciated the way the younger candidates respected the senior ones.
Five candidates, Sonam Wangchuk, 25 of Dopshari, Tshewang Norbu, 52 of Loongnyi, Kaka Tshering, 48 of Wangchang, Kinley Dorji, 25 of Nagya, and Ugyen Tshering, 43 of Lamgong are vying for the council seat in Paro.
By Gyalsten K Dorji, Paro