In what may be a first in politics, four parties that have qualified for the primary round of NA elections, after submitting the Letter of Intent (LoI), have sent written appeals to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), requesting the commission to reconsider its decision on disqualifying the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP).
The BKP Party President Sonam Tobgay said that the written appeal letters were sent to the ECB, after he communicated with the various party presidents, who expressed their solidarity in support for such a move.
He said, “I have initiated the solidarity request from all four parties. All four parties expressed their solidarity, in the true interest of democracy. All parties have sent written communications appealing on behalf of the BKP so that it can qualify.”
He said that such solidarity was unprecedented, and he was truly grateful for the joint appeal from all four parties.
Sonam Tobgay said that such an unprecedented move only demonstrated that politics in Bhutan is noble and dignified and that such gestures are in the genuine interest of democracy.
He said, “We are hopeful that the Chief Election Commissioner and his team, while reviewing the joint communications, will shed some wisdom on such a noble gesture.”
Meanwhile, in what could be another gesture of unity, the Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) President Lily Wangchhuk said that it has allowed its party member and the back- up candidate in the lower Gasa constituency to join BKP, so that it can have a candidate from the constituency.
The BKP President here clarified, that the DCT member was not an official candidate, but a DCT member who was willing to help upon hearing of BKP’s disqualification, and had sought for DCT’s permission to be deregistered to join BKP.
However, the next stage for BKP is already looking like an uphill climb as the ECB has indicated that it will go strictly by the laws.
The Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, “That is no basis to take any official action. Whatever we do has to be based and supported by law, and these are just letters. We will look at it, and if BKP does not hear anything from us then it means we will be doing nothing with it.”
People’s Democratic Party Vice President Damcho Dorji said, “We we are deeply saddened by the fact that BKP could not qualify for the primary round, and so if there was anyway that ECB could reconsider, it will lead to a more vibrant democracy, and give more alternatives to the people.”
The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa Spokesperson Dr Tandin Dorji said that his party expressed its solidarity and on request from the BKP, had written a letter to the ECB to reconsider. He said it would be sad if a party cannot take part in the primary round, two years after it started its preparations.
DCT President Lily Wangchhuk also confirmed that they have sent a letter. She said that her party supports the fact that more parties competing will lead to a more vibrant democracy.
The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa Secretary General Thinley Jamtsho has also confirmed that his party has also sent a letter to the ECB requesting it to reconsider its decision.
BKP was disqualified by the ECB, after it failed to show two candidates from Gasa, while filing the LoI.
BKP member Kunga Tenzin Dorji summarized the turn of events as, “The whole thing is unprecedented and has not happened anywhere else, and reflects on the unique way in which we approach governance and politics in our country, following the example of our Kings.”
Tenzing Lamsang/ Thimphu