Toward December end, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) will announce the status of registration of the parties.
The three aspiring political parties (Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP), Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT), and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) have re-resubmitted their documents to ECB after it asked for additional information to meet the requirements of the electoral laws. BKP was the first to file their application on 31 October, DCT followed next by submitting their intent on 2 November and DNT was the last to apply on 10 December.
The ECB is ‘hopeful to complete the process and issue certificates of registration for political parties on or before the end of December 2013 to parties that fulfill the minimum requirements under the electoral laws.
With this Bhutan will almost surely have a primary round in 2013 which means political lobbying and wooing will intensify in the days to come. Party watchers agree that it would be difficult for one party to get a good pool of experienced candidates this time as they are distributed among all aspiring groups.
BKP hopes to ‘secure the registration certificate from ECB and become the third registered political party’ in the country said its Interim President, Sonam Tobgay. BKP is ‘respectful and grateful to ECB for its thorough job in terms of ensuring credible parties in the country’.
DNT is “Very confident of registration and does not anticipate any problems for registration with ECB,” said the Party Secretary General, Tandi Dorji.
DCT president Lily Wangchhuk said her party hopes to get enough time to familiarize once they are registered.
If all parties are registered it would be quite a choosing game this time for the voters. While it was family, friendship or the leadership factors that decided 2008, this time the arena is complex with many others factors at play.
Meanwhile, ECB has informed the general public that Bhutan has only DPT and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) registered as political parties.
A commentator said at this point it’s very important for the aspiring parties to study and measure what they tell the public especially at a time when all groups sound similar.
“Of late, the comments of some aspiring party leaders were not properly thought out,” he said. “The biggest challenge would be to build trust with the people.”
Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi told The Bhutanese last week that the application for registration for political parties is being processed and decision on it will be notified to public in due course of time.
BKP submitted a new sets of documents after a few ‘editorial and cosmetic improvements on the charter’ and they will also unveil their party manifesto either in Samtse or Pemagatshel as it becomes a full-fledged political party.
The DCT had to re-tailor their logo a bit as it had some resemblance with logo of the Desuups. The other problem was to have the postal addresses of dzongkhag offices that was required under electoral processes. Nevertheless it claims to have the required 47 candidates.
Puran Gurung / Thimphu