The battle for 2018 general elections begins

l Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu

With just about a year left for the 2018 elections, political parties have begun sharpening their arsenals, the most important one being visits to the different constituencies, called as “The Familiarization Tour.”
The Journalist learnt that most elected members of the government and the opposition have left for their constituencies, to assess the ground realty. Apart from this, registered parties are also working on their manifestos and selecting candidates.
The General Secretary (GS) of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Tenzin Lekphel, told The Journalist that they have been preparing and re-organizing the party for the 2018 elections, ever since they lost the election in 2013.
“Our manifesto is yet to be finalized and we also have enough candidates,” he said. He said that the manifesto is being changed after consulting with different groups and backgrounds of peoples in the country.
He further mentioned that the candidates are also on familiarization tours to their consultancy.
The Opposition Party’s GS, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT), Ugyen Dorji, said that the party is replacing former candidates who had resigned and some who had to resign due to their ages.
“The new members are yet to go for the familiarization tour,” he said. However, most of the existing Members of Parliament (MPs) has already started visiting the constituencies for further familiarization. He also said that the changes in manifestos will be done as soon as they form a committee.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) said that they are keeping themselves abreast of developments, engaging with the communities and on other issues which is significant in their own small ways.
“We have shared our concerns, engaged in constructive criticism and even made recommendations and also currently, we are finalizing our candidates, reviewing our manifesto and preparing for our party convention where all our major issues, way forward and strategies will be discussed and finalized,” the spokesperson added.
DCT’s spokesperson also said that almost all the candidates of their party are from the last elections, who are making a comeback with greater wisdom and experience.
During the last election they had various age groups of people where many believed that their candidates are all young. However, this time they have succeeded in bringing on board many older candidates who have replaced some of our younger candidates too.
“DCT value the fresh perspectives and ideas, thus some of our young dynamic candidates will also continue as a candidate,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the DCT’s spokesperson added that there are electoral rules related to this and as a firm believer in following the rules laid out, they have not yet started the familiarization tour.

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