Party already has 300 members and 12 candidates
Druk Chirwang Tshogpa or Druk Democratic Socialist Party will be the fifth political party competing for a spot in the 2013 general elections.
The party has claimed that so far it has 300 members and 12 confirmed candidates of 25 potential candidates. One or two of the confirmed candidate are civil servants while most of them are from the private sector.
As per the party’s criteria all the candidates have more than five years of professional experience and no corruption case. The candidates are also those that are known in their constituency and are acceptable to their constituencies.
The party is currently in the process of finalizing its party logo, charter and manifesto. The party office is located on the top floor of the 8 eleven building in Thimphu and will be having a small ceremony today to inaugurate the party office.
The 300 members of DCT are a mix of party members, tshogpas, senior founding members and candidates.
An acting spokesperson for the party Tandin Tshering said, “We have not yet identified the party president as it has to go through consensus of the working committees but if possible, we are expecting to have a woman as our president.”
He said that party will soon be forming a drafting committee comprising at least of five people to frame the party manifesto.
The party has identified a youth coordinator to gather the youth throughout the country
Party worker, J.N. Sharma, said, “We have 26 working committees formed from the party members and the party has also strong support from all 20 Dzongkhags. “
The final logo of the party may be released a week from now according to the party. As of now the draft logo is a lotus growing from a body of water with a Raven bird on top.
The raven symbolizes the balance between Monarchy and democracy, the lotus purity and harmony the water symbolizes the people. The party is also debating whether to add some green to the flower to symbolize growth or the Tsa-Wa-sum jewels. The logo overall symbolizes unity, prosperity and happiness.
“The final logo will depend also on the acceptance by the Election Commission,” said a senior party member.
Some members of the party like Tandin Tshering have left the Druk Mitsher Tshogpa to join DCT as they did not believe in the ideology of that party.
Tandin Tshering said, “This party intends to promote Unity, Prosperity and Happiness by working toward a more just society, by radically transforming governance through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Bhutanese can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.”
He also said the party did not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy or big corporate bureaucracies (private sector) to control society. “Rather, we believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect,” he added.
“Our focus will be mainly on people-centric approach and we will strive to bridge the gap between rich and poor, urban and rural, men and women, young and old so that there will be a more harmonious society thereby creating enabling conditions for people to pursue happiness as envisioned by His Majesty, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo,” added Tandin.
A senior female member of the party said that the party has been formed in the last few months by a group of mostly ‘like minded common people’ who feel that their voices are not being heard and who also want common people to be a part of governance.
“Democracy does not mean just having elected leaders but also giving a platform to the masses to share their views,” said the senior member.
The senior member said that the party did not have any influential or prominent members from either the government or the private sector.
Tandin Tshering said that the Democratic Socialists also favor as much political and economic decentralization as possible for higher efficiency and effectiveness.
A senior party member said that the focus of the party will be people-centric involving them in all state policies and programs. “GNH has become more like a slogan but our party will carry out the real vision of His Majesty by creating enabling conditions for people to pursue happiness,” said the senior member.
On the economy the senior member said that the party will support a lot of cooperatives instead of just having state owned enterprises. The member said that the private sector so far has been dominated by a few companies with access to information and opportunity to network. “We will give lots of opportunities through interventions for the common masses and also give parity to local people,” said the senior member.
The party said that it has takes a strong stand against corruption and moreover no candidate with a corrupt track record will be accepted by the party.
A senior party member said that the party was ready for both the primary and general election rounds. “If given the opportunity we would like to also form the government as any party that wants to work for the people should also be ready to form the government in 2013,” said the senior member.
The member, however, pointed out that there is no level playing field as the current leadership has been there for decades with a well established organization across the country. “This does not mean we do not have capable leaders as leadership can only emerge when people are given a chance to be leaders,” said the member.
The senior member said that the party’s Democratic Socialist ideology was chosen after realizing that given Bhutan’s current development no Capitalist, Liberal, Conservative and Marxist systems would work. Chirwang was the closest name that the party could find in Dzongkha to explain Democratic Socialism.
“The welfare state is the essence of democratic socialism with more equity, freedom, justice, unity and prosperity,” said the member.
The party will convene a meeting in a few months where the President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Youth Coordinator, Women’s wing President, Executive Committee will be elected. The committee will then finalize the candidates after which they will approach the ECB for registration.
This latest addition now brings the total count of political parties to five with Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, Peoples Democratic Party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Druk Mitsher Tshogpa and Druk Chirwang Tshogpa.
There is also speculation that a sixth party may be on it’s way in a month or two. All parties after registering with ECB will have to compete in the primary round only after which two parties will be allowed to compete in the general elections.