While names of the candidates were not revealed, people voice their choices
The lull has been broken but the cat is yet to be out of the bag. Prime Minister (PM) Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering, who is also the Party President affirmed six candidates from the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) repository from where he will select the next home minister. However, the names of the candidates were not revealed.
The PM said that it all boiled down to party members consulting, meeting, and making their final selection from the serving DNT Members of Parliament (MPs).
Lyonchhoen shared that the party members, after a host of interactions, made their choices and submitted the names of a candidate each for the post of home minister.
Nine names initially made the list but three of them backed down, which leaves the party with six candidates to choose from.
“The six names are with me. They don’t even know who they are because the names were submitted individually by the party members,” Lyonchhoen said.
According to the PM, all six candidates are very eligible and since he holds the Chairperson’s post in the Cabinet, it falls upon him to make the final call.
Apart from this, the PM shared that most of the MPs are either away on constituency visits or parliamentary committee duties currently. He said that this also gives him some time to think upon it.
“When everything is set, I will let the party members know about my decision, get their suggestions and make the final bid.”
The PM also conceded that although the appointment is being delayed, it will be worth the wait. He said that nothing is being disturbed or halted because of the absence since the Foreign Affairs Minister Lyonpo Tandi Dorji is undertaking the officiating role of the home minister as well.
Lyonchhoen earlier said that there is not much difference between an officiating and a full-time dedicated minister. “All mundane and daily businesses on behalf of the Home Ministry are being equally handled by Lyonpo Tandi and if any important matters arise, it will have to be routed through the Cabinet anyhow,” he said in an earlier interview.
While lauding the capabilities of the seasoned MPs within the party, Lyonchhoen earlier said that equal opportunity should also be given to the newly elected MPs of Nganglam and Mongar constituencies, who are just as well experienced, deserving and responsible to take care of a ministry.
There are also talks in town that disagreements between the party members have stirred uncertainties which are delaying the appointment of the home minister.
“We heard that because of disagreements, candidates are being appointed and removed, and are also being put to test whether they could handle a ministry or not,” a keen political observer said.
There are also informal reports that the party (DNT) had identified performers and non-performers among the cabinet members.
Refuting the conjectures, Lyonchhoen said that there is nothing as such happening within the party domains. “The party members have done their part and all of them have asked me to decide on my own and make the right choice,” he said.
The home minister’s post has remained vacant since May this year, when the former home minister Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen tendered his resignation after being convicted of false vehicle insurance claims.
The PM has since then only announced that any serving DNT MPs can be the next home minister. No developments have taken place within the political ring; instead Bhutanese electorates are rooting for their respective MPs to be sworn in as the next home minister.
Different people from different constituencies across the country are religiously trying to explain and out-smart each other on how eligible and efficient their MPs are to fill the void.
The Final Six: People’s perceptions
Choekhhor-Tang MP Dawa is meanwhile the crowd’s favourite. Informal queries have surfaced that he is leading the pegging order followed by Athang-Thedtsho MP Kinley Wangchuk to head the home ministry.
“Dawa is the most deserving candidate for the post, if I am to provide my honest opinion,” said 73 year-old Kinzang Thinley from Thimphu. “He has all the qualities and the right attitude to be deserving of a minister’s berth.”
Next in line are Nganglam MP Karma Dorji and Mongar MP Karma Lhamo. While Karma Dorji is one of the party’s founding members, Karma Lhamo holds immense experience having being in the political frame since the first democratic elections in 2008.
Lamgong-Wangchang MP Ugyen Tshering, who also served as a National Council (NC) MP, and Gangzur-Minjey MP KingaPenjor makes the final two in the informal sequence.
People this paper talked to also shared that they are longing to see another woman in a minister’s portfolio in the Cabinet.
“It will be nice to see one of the female MPs taking charge of the Home Ministry. We are pretty sure they can handle it as good as the others,” 64 year-old TendiZangmo from Thimphu said.
The Cabinet today has only one female in Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo.
Meanwhile, there are no clear written norms for the appointment of a minister in Bhutan. It is followed as per the Constitution which states that His Majesty the King can appoint a minister upon the recommendation of the PM.