Gender not priority for parties while nominating candidate for ministerial post
Bhutan got its first female minister in 2013 when the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after winning the 2013 elections nominated its candidate from Thrimshing-Kangpara constituency in Trashigang, Dorji Choden, as the works and human settlement minister.
And with a total of 18 female candidates contesting this year’s primary round of elections as of September 15, the number being reduced to 10 as we head to the general round of elections, will we have female candidates with ministerial portfolios when one of the two parties forms the government? This would unquestionably be something exciting to look forward to, according to political observers.
Both political parties - Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) – have five women candidates contesting in the general round of elections this year.
Talking to Business Bhutan, DNT president Lotay Tshering said there are 100% female candidates capable of being ministerial candidates, but how many would depend on the winning and losing combination.
“How many and who will be decided after winning the election. Our reason for giving ministerial-ship to women is based on capability but not on gender. I don’t believe in appointing a female minister just because she is a female but it is simply based on merit. The person who is more capable will get the ministerial portfolio not by gender and I am not in favor
of reserving quota for anyone,” he added.
The female candidates from DNT comprise Dechen Wangmo from North Thimphu constituency, Dil Maya Rai from Tashichhoeling constituency in Samtse, Tshewang Lhamo from Bongo-Chapchha constituency in Chhukha, Yeshey Dem from Khamaed-Lunana constituency in Gasa, and Dorjee Wangmo from Sombaykha constituency in Haa.
Meanwhile, DPT female candidates comprise Karma Lhamo from Monggar constituency in Monggar, Tshering Choden from Khar–Yurung constituency in Pemagatshel, Norbu Wangzom from NanongShumar constituency in Pemagatshel, Lily Wangchuk from NorthThimphu constituency, and Lila Pradhan from Ugyentse-Yoeseltse constituency in Samtse. Talking to Business
Bhutan, DPT president Pema Gyamtsho said giving ministerial portfolios to candidates will depend on the procedure that the party has developed and everyone has equal chance and opportunity. The factors to determine a candidate for the post of minister will be attributed to his/her merit, experience, level of support and competence.
“All our female candidates have equal opportunity and we have a standard procedure that we will follow. We are not in a position to announce any preference for any particular candidate. Even my own portfolio, I cannot decide, it has to be decided by the executive committee. I cannot decide on my own,” he said.
Further, the president said he had not promised anyone nor any candidate has asked for a ministerial post. “All our candidates have come forward without asking any condition,” he added.
However, according to some voters in Thimphu, Lily Wangchuk is likely to be offered a ministerial portfolio if DPT wins and forms the government, while in the case of DNT it could be either Dil Maya Rai or Dechen Wangmo or both.