DTT mandates core national values in their candidates’ portfolio

DTT elected Kinga Tshering as the president and  Chenga Dorji ( Ph.D.) as the vice president

The recently launched party, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa, elected Kinga Tshering as its president and Dr. Chenga Tshering (Ph.D.) as the vice-president

LHAKPA TSHERING | Thimphu

Despite effective political leadership being an essential ingredient of a vibrant democracy, past trends reveal that most political parties choose their candidates for their winning ability that is based on popularity and their contribution to the party and the constituency they represent.

However, with leadership becoming the most desired element in workplaces more than ever before, the newly launched political party – Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) – has strategized from what they have learned from past mistakes and pitfalls in the candidate selection process.

The party, which plans to register soon with the election commission, said they designed an effective selection process, focusing extensively on leadership qualities and behavioral competencies to pass the leadership benchmarks.

DTT party officials say, unlike the heated back-room selections of the past, the party focuses on realistic candidates, which include key leadership elements as a hallmark to strengthen democracy.

“The selection is very democratic and we are going with the real value of democracy,” a party official said, adding that many people who go through their system complain about their rigorous selection criteria saying it is even more difficult to get an executive.

“If we want to serve in the parliament, it is more important than executive selection. That’s why our candidate selection procedures are very rigorous and no single party person makes the decisions. It is a party executive committee,” he added.

Among others, the criteria include skill assessments, an interview, evaluation of CVs, and their interpersonal relationship with their former colleagues. “We check their references randomly that makes the difference, but not the one they provide in the CVs,” he said.

While selecting a good candidate can be tricky, the party says, their system ensures that candidates satisfy all the necessary competencies and are willing to take that extra effort to help in the nation-building process.

The newly elected party president, Kinga Tshering, said no single party member can decide who to put forward as a candidate. He said the party executive committee screen the candidates recommended by the party and then approve their candidacy.

“For instance, I recommended five individuals as party candidates. However, only the former Thimphu Thrompon got a ticket to stand as a candidate,” he said, adding their party has a fair selection process in the democracy’s interest.

“We would get a lot of pushbacks as more people join us because while others focus on strengthening parties, we focus on strengthening the democratic values. We are also thoroughly committed,” he added.

He said the significance of the candidate selection method is not only for the candidates and their parties but also for a vibrant democracy.

The newly elected party vice-president, Dr. Chenga Tshering (Ph.D.), said that developing a rigorous selection process is an essential part to get the very best candidate for their party.

“If we need a representative who put the nation’s interest ahead of their personal interest and who can serve at the best in the leadership position, then we will definitely support their candidature,” he said.

He added that if the person displays leadership qualities and is eligible and willing to sacrifice for the nation, the party does not have any qualms to give them tickets. “Nation first is our value,” Dr. Chenga said.

However, for those candidates who don’t really have the capabilities to represent well, he said, there would be a special consideration including providing capacity building and sessions to assist them.

Party officials said DTT has already taken up a capacity-building course which is spearheaded by their president. They said it is something unique that they have inculcated and that they are on the right footing in terms of candidate selection.

Describing their young candidates as competent and intellectual youths, the party said it has selected seven-young candidates so far. “We looked at the leadership role they shouldered during the school days and took almost two to three weeks to research about them,” he said.

When asked about gender representation, Dr. Chenga Tshering said the nominations depend on the choice of the people and they do not have a gender quota. “As of now, we have three women among 27 selected candidates. We do not have restrictions on giving tickets to women.”

Meanwhile, Kinga Tshering said that one of the party’s unique features is a bottom-up approach in its decision-making process including the nomination of candidates through consultation with the people.

“Our Thuendrel values are based on enduring trust. If we can translate the level of trust among the voters and communities, then I think we would have done well as a political party to contribute towards social and communal harmony,” he said.