The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) introduced seven new candidates last week. The candidates are a mixture of well known National Council faces and senior former bureaucrats, all seen as ‘strong candidates’ based on their background and qualifications.
Former Cabinet Secretary, Kinzang Wangdi
The former Cabinet Secretary, Kinzang Wangdi, who will run from the Bartsham-Shongphu constituency, Trashigang is the senior most bureaucrat to join PDP.
He said, “Well, I liked the PDP’s ideology of Wangste Chirphel or decentralization as it is important to empower the grassroots in these present times. The second reason is that PDP has implemented what they said they would do. Thirdly I found the leadership of Lyonchhen very inspiring. The Prime minister works selflessly for the Tsa-Wa-Sum. I saw this quality right from the time the PDP was a two-member Opposition party, when I was the National Assembly Secretary General and later as the Cabinet Secretary, I was exposed to how hard the PM and the Cabinet worked.”
He also served for three years as the secretary general in the National Assembly (NA) Secretariat before becoming the cabinet secretary.
He has worked for 19 years in the Ministry of Agriculture, 11 years as the head of the Livestock Research Program, and six years as the Dzongdag of Gasa, Wangduephodrang and Sarpang.
Former Home Secretary, Tshering Dorji
In a career spanning 32 years, Tshering Dorji has served as the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and as an ambassador to Thailand and Bangladesh. He also served as the managing director of National Housing Development Corporation and Dzongda of Samtse and Pemagatshel, among others.
He said, “In 2013 we all know the people of Bhutan elected PDP and gave it the responsibility of running the country and we have seen how the government has functioned. I have worked closely at the highest levels in two ministries for four years and I was very impressed with the way the government functioned. The government has done very well for itself by all standards, with the leader of the party, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, ably assisted by the Cabinet Ministers and MPs.”
He said that Lyonchhen has made a name for himself inside and outside the country and in doing so has done the country proud.
“I saw a very well established and proven leader supported by a good party and decided to join. PDP has done really well in serving the country, Their Majesties and the people and deserve another term term. I wanted to be part of such a team to support then in running the country,” said the former secretary.
Former Samtse NC, Sangay Khandu
A former parliamentarian, Sangay Khandu, is now the PDP candidate from Tashichhoeling constituency in Samtse.
He has served as the National Council member from Samtse from 2013 to 2018. “When I exchanged a few words with the people of my own constituency, I found the people are proud of this government (PDP), and they encouraged me to join the NA to bring further development in the dzongkhag,” he said.
Sangay Khandu said, “After observing what PDP has achieved within five years and the party’s ideology, I decided to join PDP.” He said PDP has a trustworthy leadership and proven capabilities within Bhutan and internationally, “I am convinced that I will deliver the best services to my electorate with this dynamic group of people.”
He added the main mandate of any party, ruling or in the opposition, should be to serve the people.
Sangay Khandu began his political career in pre-democracy times, as a Gup in 1996 and served as the local leader for two years. He then went on to serve as the Chimi and was elected as the first chairperson of the Samtse Dzongkhag Tshogdu from 2001 to 2007.
Former Dagana NC, Sonam Dorji
An experienced parliamentarian, a former two-time National Council member, Sonam Dorji, will contest for a seat in the NA elections from Drujyegang-Tseza constituency.
He represented Dagana in the National Council for two terms, in 2008-2013 and 2013-2018. Prior to that, Sonam Dorji was a manager with the Bank of Bhutan.
Sonam Dorji said that after having served two terms in the National Council reviewing laws he wanted to take the opportunity to serve the people in the socio-economic aspects which he could do more effectively in the NA.
He said that he consulted his constituents on which party to join and they told him to join PDP as even the grassroots are satisfied with the current government.
“I found PDP performing up to the expectations of the Tsa-Wa-Sum in the last five years and the present Prime Minister has also done well on the international stage,” he said,
Former Paro NC, Kaka Tshering
A former educationist and a former parliamentarian, Kaka Tshering, will run from the Lamgong-Wangchang constituency, Paro. He highlighted three reasons for joining PDP, “It is really an honour to receive an offer from a well established pro-people friendly party with whom I have a close affiliation.”
Secondly, he said that people have lot of concerns and issues to be addressed and PDP has taken care of issues and are willing to look into others.
“Paro people, in general, are impressed by PDP leadership for keeping their promises and living up to the expectations of the Tsa-Wa-Sum,” he said.
Kaka Tshering brings along with him five years of experience as a parliamentarian having served as Paro’s representative to the Upper House from 2013 to 2018. For many years, he served as a teacher and principal in several high schools across the country. He also served as chief election officer, Election Commission of Bhutan and as managing director of Bhutan Times. He was PDP’s candidate from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in the 2008 parliamentary elections.
Former Chief Environment Officer of PHPA, Gongsar Karma Chhopel
Making his foray into politics is a former water expert and environmentalist, Gongsar Karma Chhopel. He will be running from the Radhi-Sakteng constituency in Trashigang.
According to Gongsar Karma Chhopel, “It (PDP) is currently the most credible party, and it is my conviction to join the best party so that I will be in the best position to serve my Tsa – Wa – Sum.”
He added that most of the people feel that PDP will be leaving behind a legacy that will be appreciated for many years to come, “Further strengthening the cordial friendship with our neighboring countries, widening of our northern East-West highway, empowering of local government, building central schools, are some of the reasons that helped me to choose PDP,” he said.
Gongsar Karma Chhophel served as a Chief Environment Officer, of Punatsangchu Hydroelectric Project Authority and before that as the Chief Environment Officer, National Environment Commission. He also served as a water resources specialist and quality expert for Bhutan, and an overall focal person on water and aquatic resources. He served as a Chairperson of Bhutan Water Partnership, Global Water Partnership South Asia and as a Chairperson of the Steering Committee for the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN-GCR) in Kobe, Japan.
Former Thimphu City Bus Director, Sonam Dendup
Sonam is the new PDP candidate from Monggar. He is the former Thimphu City Bus Service Director. He said he has three reasons for joining PDP.
He said, firstly, PDP has exceeded people’s expectations and wishes of the beloved Monarch by fulfilling all the pledges that they committed. Secondly, he said the Prime Minister has displayed a true spirit of leadership, not only in Bhutan but also at the international arena. Lastly, “I have all the reasons now to believe that the PDP is the people’s party that walks the talk,” he said.
Sonam Dendup has worked in the Policy and Planning Division of the Ministry of Information and Communications. He also served as the regional transport officer in Samdrup Jongkhar. He also served as the project director of the Chiphen Rigphel Project.