Amid speculations about its strategy for the general election, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has confirmed that the party has no plans to replace its candidates to contest in the general round next month.
A report published in the Kuensel quoted DPT spokesperson Dorji Wangdi as saying that the party has already instructed all the existing 47 candidates to file in their nomination with the respective returning officer. “We have asked our candidates to remain in their constituency to file in their nomination,” he said.
The report also stated that Dorji Wangdi, who is also one of the three vice-presidents, also brushed off the rumours that DPT was approaching some of the PDP members to join in as candidates. He said it is not in their strategy to replace candidates.
The Election Commission of Bhutan has opened nominations of candidates from September 17 last and the nomination period will close on September 21. The public debate will be on September 25 next. The party is fielding a mix of both young and experienced candidates for demographic representation. Five of them are in the age group of 25 to 30 years, while 14 are between 31 and 40 years. A majority, 18 candidates are in the age group of 41 to 50 years, and 10 between 51 and 60 years.
In the primary round on September 15, DPT came a close second winning 90,020. The party secured 53,108 EVM votes and 36,912 postal ballots. In the 2013 primaries, DPT had secured 44.52 per cent of the votes.
DPT has five women candidates, one of whom was the former president of the erstwhile Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, Lily Wangchuk. The party replaced Wangdi Norbu from Bartsham-Shongphu, Jigme Wangchuk from Radhi-Sakteng and Dechen Zangmo from Nanong-Shumar with new candidates, while retaining the remaining 14-member Opposition.
The party says its edge in the election is the proven track record as Government and Opposition in serving the Tsawa Sum. Strengthening sovereignty, security and self-sufficiency is high on its priority list.