As Bhutan prepares for the upcoming elections, political parties are laying bare their strengths and acknowledging the challenges they face in their bid for public support. Each party brings a unique narrative, highlighting distinct qualities that they believe set them apart.
Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa
The spokesperson for Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa stated, “DTT’s greatest strength lies in our team, composed of diverse professionals. Our team includes 4 economists, 4 finance personnel, 4 IT and digital experts, 8 engineers, 8 former parliamentarians, 8 educationists, 6 PhD holders, 6 women, 6 agriculturists, and 18 business administrators. According to the Scrabble theory, 3 alphabets can form 4 words, 4 alphabets can form 8 words, and 10 alphabets can generate 595 words in an exponential trend. Similarly, DTT’s team possesses the necessary ‘alphabets’ to work on the economy and make the country prosperous in the next 10 years. Through this perspective, we aim to connect with voters and seek their support in achieving His Majesty’s vision of a prosperous Bhutan.”
He added, “Some of our candidates are relatively new and do not possess experience in government or corporate sectors. DTT has organized a 5-day training program covering various aspects of leadership, teamwork, manifesto and pledges, and preparation for debates. The less experienced candidates receive support through training and guidance from senior and experienced candidates. Voter turnout could be a concern, as many private sector employees are not eligible for postal ballots within the country and abroad.”
Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP)
The spokesperson for Bhutan Tendrel Party highlighted, “BTP is led by a president who is known for being a doer. His background in economic development and expertise in making public service efficient is an added advantage given the current situation of the country. His experience serving as Gyalpoi Zimpon Wogma and Land Secretary brings an added advantage to the party since he feel the pulse of the nation. Further, Bhutan Tendrel Party has a group of qualified, skilled, versatile, and young and veteran candidates from diverse professional backgrounds who are expertise in their own field”.
In general, the greatest advantage of BTP is the experience that comes with our party leader who is an extraordinary citizen and the experience of our candidates, majority of which (30 individuals) has more than 20 years of work experience in diverse field.
The spokesperson for BTP, expressed, “We’ve effectively communicated to our voters that BTP possesses the experience, confidence, and determination needed to foster prosperity in Bhutan. Our financial limitation is a weakness we acknowledge, and unfortunately, there’s little we can do to change that. Our approach to the elections centers on building trust and confidence among our constituents. We firmly believe in the capabilities of all 47 candidates, assuring the public that BTP boasts the most competent team. While we can’t predict voter turnout, we anticipate a more favorable participation compared to the previous NC elections.”
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT)
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s president Dasho (Dr.) Lotay Tshering said, “Our strength and distinctive feature, unlike other parties or past governments, lie in our ability to navigate the country through its most challenging times. We successfully steered through the roughest patches, facing sleepless nights, closed borders, and travel restrictions during the pandemic. These experiences provided us with invaluable government expertise that cannot be acquired elsewhere. Emerging from the pandemic, we embraced the new normal as a reset button, catalyzing comprehensive reforms across the entire country. Governing during the reformative period further enriched our experience, setting us apart as a government that thrived amid adversity. Our pride and strength stem from our governance during unprecedented crises such as the global economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic. This unique experience empowered us to initiate and implement significant reforms, acknowledging the emotional toll of both crises and restructuring. No other government has had the opportunity to govern under such challenging circumstances. Having weathered tough times, we take pride in fostering a population of sensible and analytical Bhutanese citizens. Our hope is to cultivate a society where people can rationalize, comprehend the complexities, and empathize with the challenges we face as a nation.”
“While we don’t identify any significant weaknesses within DNT, there are perceptions of weakness crafted by individuals, including some fellow politicians. These perceived shortcomings are not inherent but rather constructed by public opinion and a few individuals.
Among our pool of 47 candidates, each possesses unique strengths and qualities. The selection process for candidates to join our party and government is rigorous, prioritizing the human aspect and the individual’s commitment to community service without conditions. We evaluate their personalities to ensure compatibility within the team and assess their willingness to collaborate effectively. Key considerations include their capacity to listen, learn, and work harmoniously with others. Those who do not meet the criteria in these aspects are deemed unqualified to be a part of DNT”, he added.
He further said, “While I may not delve deeply into the voter turnout, this time around, favorable climatic conditions are anticipated, with no rain or floods expected in November—a positive aspect. Additionally, November generally proves to be a favorable month across all 20 dzongkhags. The presence of numerous political parties might contribute to an increase in voter numbers, as each party strives to attract more supporters. Ultimately, the voter turnout hinges on factors such as weather conditions, the multiplicity of parties, and the efficient coordination of the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).”
People’s Democratic Party
The spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party stated, “In terms of strength, our party boasts the most capable leader, a group of 47 competent candidates, and a bold, ambitious manifesto. Our weakness lies in our inability to engage in sweet talk and make false promises to win votes. To leverage our strengths, our focus is on promoting our leadership, highlighting the commendable qualities of our capable candidates, and ensuring voters are well-informed about our ambitious yet realistic manifesto. To address this weakness, we are committed to transparent communication and sincerity, emphasizing our dedication to honesty and genuine representation.”
He added, “All our candidates are equally capable, bringing diverse professional backgrounds and experiences. Their suitability for the role lies in their passion for serving the nation, unique skills, and vast experience in various professions. This diversity ensures a comprehensive representation of the constituents’ needs and concerns. Given the urgency of the nation’s situation, we anticipate a higher turnout, hoping that the electorate will recognize their sacred responsibility to participate in the democratic process. We are optimistic that voter turnout will increase significantly this time, reflecting the urgency and importance of the decisions for a better Drukyul.”
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT)
The party’s president Dorji Wangdi said, “Our excellent track record of economic performance and very visionary and strong plans and proposals for re-laying the foundation and reviving the economy are the key strengths to be trusted in us. One of our major weaknesses is the Lack of financial resources as a party. We need to draw up better resources mobilization plan in future”
He added, “They are all strong and capable, possessing a good understanding of national and local issues. Their passion for serving the people and commitment to advancing the nation are key qualities. People understand the high importance of National Assembly elections, especially as they involve the election of a government. Therefore, we are optimistic about a good voter turnout.”