Who will be the next PM of Bhutan?

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Chen­cho Dema

Who will be the next Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan? The ques­tion has sparked de­bate among the Bhutanese as Bhutan gears up for the third gen­eral round of elec­tions.

Pema Gyamt­sho, 57, is a sea­soned politi­cian with 10 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in pol­i­tics and Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing who par­tic­i­pated in the 2013 elec­tions though un­proven in the po­lit­i­cal arena has es­tab­lished for him­self a rep­u­ta­tion and is a house­hold name and sav­ior to many com­mon­ers.

Oc­to­ber 18 will tell the whole

``na­tion who the next Prime Min­is­ter of Bhutan will be. Till then, spec­u­la­tions are on.

Busi­ness Bhutan asked around about the oomph fac­tor that the pres­i­dents of both the par­ties, Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Phuen­sum Tshogpa (DPT), pos­sess and re­ceived an in­ter­est­ing ar­ray of an­swers. The re­spon­dents how­ever sought anonymity to pro­tect them­selves.

A for­mer par­lia­men­tar­ian said both lead­ers are ca­pa­ble of lead­ing their par­ties. He said Pema Gyamt­sho is a sea­soned politi­cian with an ex­pe­ri­ence as a cab­i­net min­is­ter and op­po­si­tion leader in the par­lia­ment for last decade and an es­tab­lished name in the field of pol­i­tics while Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing is fresh and is yet to prove his po­ten­tial but a hard­work­ing per­son who will not leave any stone un­turned given a chance. “He is en­er­getic.”

“The DPT pres­i­dent is a man of tem­per­a­ment; his calm­ness and cool­ness is com­mend­able and he has a good team to form the gov­ern­ment. The DNT pres­i­dent on the other hand is a bit im­pul­sive dur­ing the cam­paigns and be­sides be­ing a sur­geon in the hos­pi­tal he has lit­tle knowl­edge in pol­i­tics. He does not have prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence as a politi­cian,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to a for­mer jour­nal­ist, both lead­ers have their own per­son­al­i­ties and both have their own strengths as a leader.

“Both stand out well from among the 47 mem­ber pool they have fol­low­ing their cam­paign speech, con­duct and tac­tics,” he said.

But when it comes to mea­sur­ing the lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, he men­tioned that Pema Gyamt­sho stands ahead of Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing and the ob­vi­ous rea­son is Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing does not have prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence al­though he may have cer­tain po­lit­i­cal ideas and knowl­edge.

“But again if the de­bates tell us any­thing, DNT’s can­di­dates are not able to jus­tify and ex­plain their own pledges well, mean­ing Lo­tay’s team com­po­si­tion seems weak in its in­di­vid­ual lead­er­ship ca­pac­i­ties. If the way they ar­tic­u­late their thoughts and ap­proach to cam­paign speeches and tack­ling crit­i­cism of each other, they both are do­ing well, ex­cept DNT’s other can­di­dates are fail­ing be­hind the Pema Gyamt­sho’s armies in their man­dates to de­fend and jus­tify their stand,” he ex­plained.

A class XII stu­dent from one of the schools in Thim­phu said Pema Gyamt­sho is hum­ble and have na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and has ex­pe­ri­ence as a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter and op­po­si­tion leader.

A civil ser­vant based in Samtse said that he found both the pres­i­dents com­pe­tent and vi­sion­ary how­ever, he feels that Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing is not well versed in terms of for­eign pol­icy and for­eign di­plo­matic re­la­tions.

A cor­po­rate em­ployee based in Thim­phu men­tioned Pema Gyamt­sho is sea­soned and well ex­pe­ri­enced in di­plo­matic re­la­tions com­pared to Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing who has only in­ter­acted with the peo­ple and not in state level meet­ings. “What I hear from my friends and col­leagues is that DPT pres­i­dent is some­one who was with the gov­ern­ment and has lot of ex­pe­ri­ence but if Lo­tay wins, he will be a prime min­is­ter, com­ing straight from the doc­tor’s cham­ber. Lo­tay will make a good MP but not as the PM; most peo­ple say he is ar­ro­gant,” he said.

Fur­ther, he men­tioned that Pema Gyamt­sho ob­vi­ously has years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the gov­ern­ment and lead­er­ship level with min­is­te­rial ex­pe­ri­ence while Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing will be able to ad­dress peo­ple is­sues with health care as he has trav­elled to ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try.

How­ever, both the pres­i­dents do not have an ex­pe­ri­ence in the Prime Min­is­te­rial post.

Pema Gyamt­sho served as the agri­cul­ture min­is­ter dur­ing the first demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment and as the op­po­si­tion leader in the last five years and he is prob­a­bly wait­ing for this op­por­tu­nity – to be­come the next prime min­is­ter. On the other hand, Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing a pop­u­lar fig­ure who needs not much in­tro­duc­tion has proven his ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the med­i­cal field as a man of medicine. Will his pop­u­lar­ity and so­cial deeds pave a way for him to be the next PM of Bhutan?

Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing, 50, is a con­sul­tant urol­o­gist by pro­fes­sion and has 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence as a med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner. He joined pol­i­tics out of sheer in­ter­est and pas­sion. Also he paid Nu 6.2mn in train­ing obli­ga­tion to the gov­ern­ment to re­sign from the civil ser­vice and join pol­i­tics in 2013. He was a re­cip­i­ent of the Druk Thuk­sey at the Na­tional Day cel­e­bra­tions in Haa last year.

He holds MBBS from Dhaka Univer­sity, Bangladesh, Gen­eral Surgery, BCPS, Dhaka Univer­sity, Bangladesh and com­pleted his MBA from Canberra Univer­sity.

Pema Gyamt­sho was the Chair­man of the Bhutan Trust Fund for En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion and he ini­ti­ated Bhutan’s largest na­tional park, the Wangchuck Cen­ten­nial Park. He fur­ther de­clared Bhutan’s pledge to re­main a car­bon neu­tral coun­try for all times and its as­pi­ra­tion to grad­u­ally move to­wards fully or­ganic farm­ing sys­tem as part of the coun­try’s ef­forts to com­bat cli­mate change.

He holds M.Agr.Sc (Hons) from New Zealand and he com­pleted his PhD from ETH Zurich in 1996. He is also the re­cip­i­ent of the Lin­coln Alumni In­ter­na­tional Medal in April this year.

Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa pres­i­dent Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing reaches Trongsa yes­ter­day to cam­paign for the gen­eral round of the third par­lia­men­tary elec­tions yes­ter­day.

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