Two female Gups, both from Dagana
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