Two fe­male Gups, both from Da­gana

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Alka Kat­wal

Thirty-year-old Nam­gay Pelden, the gup elect of Tashid­ing Ge­wog in Da­gana, has not only won the elec­tion for a sec­ond term but has also in­spired many women to con­test in the lo­cal govern­ment (LG) elec­tion. Fol­low­ing

in her foot­steps is Pema Wangmo Ta­mang, 28, from Ge­sar­ling Ge­wog in Da­gana, the coun­try’s sec­ond elected fe­male gup.

Both the fe­male gups in the coun­try are from Da­gana Dzongkhag.

Pema Wangmo Ta­mang said she was in­spired by Nam­gay Pelden to take part in the LG elec­tion. She se­cured 366 votes to win the Ge­sar­ling Gup’s post. “The fact that Nam­gay Pelden is once again elected as the gup means that peo­ple are now ready to em­brace change and ac­cept women lead­ers,” she said.

A class X grad­u­ate who has worked as a NonFor­mal Ed­u­ca­tion (NFE) teacher for 12 years, Pema Wangmo Ta­mang said one chal­lenge she faced dur­ing the cam­paign was con­vinc­ing the peo­ple that a woman’s place is not just in the kitchen. “A few peo­ple said that since I am a woman, I will not be as ded­i­cated as male Gup,” she said.

In­ter­est­ingly, Pema Wangmo Ta­mang’s hus­band, Pas­sang Thingh Ta­mang was also elected as gup from Tshol­ingkhar Ge­wog in Tsir­ang.

As a gup, she said she would fo­cus on in­creas­ing the num­ber of farm roads, im­prov­ing drink­ing water fa­cil­i­ties and on en­gag­ing the youth at the grass­roots lev­els.

Mean­while Nam­gay Pelden se­cured 854 votes to de­feat Karma Dechen Ch­ogyal, who se­cured 468. The 33-year-old said un­like the first LG elec­tion, this time the peo­ple were more sup­port­ive. “I was more con­fi­dent this time be­cause of my five years’ ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

As the Gup, she said she would fo­cus on empowering women, es­pe­cially on their ed­u­ca­tion and health. “If women are strong, the so­ci­ety will au­to­mat­i­cally be strong,” she said.

The mother of two said dur­ing her door-to-door cam­paign, she found out that there were peo­ple in her Ge­wog who did not even have proper roof over their ehads. As a Gup, she said she would try her best to help them.

Mean­while, there was a slight de­crease in the voter turnout (55.8%) against 56.23% in the first LG elec­tions. How­ever, fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion has gone up, which ac­cord­ing to the Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner Ch­ogyal Dago Rigdzin is his­toric.

About 11% of the to­tal elected can­di­dates are women, which is an in­crease from 7.83% in the first LG elec­tion 2010.

Dur­ing the an­nounce­ment of the LG elec­tion re­sults in Thim­phu on Wed­nes­day, the Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner said the voter turnout was a good re­sult. “The re­sult in terms of elec­tion of women can­di­dates is also good,” he said.

Out of the to­tal of 402,149 reg­is­tered vot­ers, 224,460 cast their votes dur­ing the sec­ond LG elec­tion this time.

De­scrib­ing the elec­tion as his­toric, the Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner said that de­spite some prob­lems, the elec­tions went smoothly with ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of the elec­torates.

In to­tal, 1,423 can­di­dates have been elected as Gup, Mangmi and Ge­wog Tshog­pas, Thrompon and Thromde Tshog­pas and Thromde Ngot­shabs. Out of the to­tal, 432 had pre­vi­ously held elec­tive posts in lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

Pema Wangmo Ta­mang

Nam­gay Pelden

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