None of the new political parties have formally registered with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) as of yet. This means that the ruling party and the opposition are the only bonafide political parties.
However, the commission hopes that by July interested members will come forward to register as political parties.
“With this month being inauspicious, maybe members are wary to come forward to register,” said the Registrar of Political Parties and also the Director of ECB, Dawa Tenzin.
Speaking to the Spokesperson of Bhutan Kuen-Ngyam Party (BKP), Sonam Tobgay said the party was gaining overwhelming strength and support by the day.
“The party will register sooner rather than later at an appropriate time,” said Sonam Tobgay.
He said the party will not register itself this month but an official letter will be sent to the ECB informing that BKP is in formation, following that the party will register in 30 days. The party will continue with informal discussion with the ECB.
The spokesperson of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Dr Tandi Dorji said their party might go in for registration sometime between two to three months. Currently, he said they were working on fulfilling all the ECB’s requirements.
Druk Mitsher Tshogpa’s Spokesperson Tandin Tshering said they were not hurrying but were taking slow and steady steps in fulfilling the ECB’s criteria, “if we falter on some criteria then we might not even make it,” said Tandin Tshering.
Speaking on the procedures, Dawa Tenzin said firstly, the interested members will have to submit an application of registration as political party and this requirement will have to be submitted in political party form No. 1 within a month’s time, with all the necessary documents to the ECB.
Some of the provision amongst the Electoral Rules and Regulation states that complete information on the party, its office bearers, offices, and member’s details amongst others will be mandatory.
According to the ECB there should be at least one member each of the 47 Demkhongs (constituencies) in the 20 dzongkhags.
The commission on receipt of an application shall register an applicant party as a political party if it meets all the electoral criteria.
Following that, the application will undergo screening process by Registrar of Political Parties for submission to the Sub-Committee of the ECB.
The Sub-Committee shall vet and submit its recommendation to the commission for consideration, and if approved, a certificate of registration will be awarded and the public will be notified.
The party will then be registered as political party if its application compiles to the Electoral laws and provisions of the political party rules of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2009.
“The date will be set at the last moment, even we don’t know when, but, first the National Assembly will have to be dissolved, then on the basis of it, the deciding will follow,” said the Chief Election Officer, Phub Dorji.
Druk Chirwang Tshogpa could not be contacted.