Meanwhile, the three newbies get their acts together as they await ECB registration
People’s Democratic Party: The country’s opposition party, which at the moment is associated with just its two Parliament representatives, including the opposition leader, claim to have candidates from around 39 constituencies.
This means that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is left with just eight more candidates to make up a complete set. The news also comes at a time, when many assumed the party was at an “all time low”, and that it might fizzle out.
Opposition member Damcho Dorji said the 39 were a “good mix”, of young and old, with civil service and private sector background. Opposition leader Tshering Tobgay, in an earlier interview, said some were also former PDP candidates.
“We’re expecting around 12 to 15 women candidates,” he said, adding they had confirmed around seven.
Damcho Dorji said it was not so much about candidates they were worried. He said they already had prospective ones, who were willing to come forward, from those eight constituencies.
“Some are quite young, but we’ve seen better candidates in those constituencies, so we’re keeping it open for others,” he said.
The candidates will go public once all 47 are in place.
As for now, the party was gearing for the “real campaign”.
In advising how to go about that, the confirmed candidates are being told about two key roles, one for their own election, and the other to lobby for the party in the primary round.
On the party’s comeback, they would focus on “strengthening democracy”.
“Just because we have elected leaders it doesn’t mean we have democracy,” he said. “It has to be on a day-to-day basis.”
He said they were concerned about some “scary signs” sent from some of the moves the present government took that contradicted some fundamentals of democracy.
“From our side, we want to ensure there is real democracy rather than namesake ones,” he said, adding they would assess and analyse whatever policies were made, apprise people of the benefits of them, and get the majority consent before making any moves.
It would be economy next, he said, and that the Rupee issue was here to stay, and could probably become a crises if not reacted to aptly.
What was being done at the moment to solve unemployment problem in the country, Damcho Dorji said, would not solve the problem and, as such, PDP would focus on having both long and short-term solutions.
In the meantime, while in anticipation of election commission’s response on the registration the three upcoming parties have applied for, Bhutan Kuen-nyam Party, Druk Chirwang Tshogpa and Druk Chirwang Tshogpa had been keeping themselves busy.
Kuen-nyam Party’s president, Sonam, said they were closely working with the election commission on the party’s registration, which was in an advanced stage.
“We’re really appreciative of the commission’s thorough examination of registration protocols,” he said, adding they were expecting “good news” either on Monday or Tuesday.
For the time being, besides brainstorming on how to handle the primary, they had also continued with their candidate and membership hunt.
Having made their final update with the election commission yesterday, Chirwang tshogpa’s spokesperson, Meghraj Tamang, said they were positive about getting registered by next week.
“We’ve also conversed with our potential candidates, and they’ll join in once the party is registered,” he said, adding the party’s focus on rural development and need-based approach, among others, was what the candidates liked.
Once registered, they would have a “big” meeting on proper planning for future moves.
In their recent workshop, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa had also been having thorough discussions to come out with the party’s so-called “seven-point plan”.
Party’s core group member, Tenzin Lekphel, said, having identified the most important issues the party would emphasise, they are now working out on details and strategies on how to go about it.
For now, the focus is also on institutionalising the party by drawing up rules and responsibilities of its committees and members.
Having applied for registration on December 10, the party hopes to hear from election commission in seven to 10 days.
By Kesang Dema | Thimphu