BTP unveils their first seven candidates

The first seven candidates of Bhutan Tendrel Party. Pic: BTP


After its official registration on 11 January, Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) on 14 January declared seven candidates to represent the party in the 2023 elections.

The party said that they have included members from diverse educational, professional and regional backgrounds.

Ritu Raj Chettri will contest from Tashichholing gewog under Samtse Dzongkhag. The former member of parliament from 2013-2018 is a legal expert with a background in Environmental law from the Australian National University, Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Mumbai, and Bachelor of Arts (BA) honours in Political Science from Delhi University.

Ritu contributed significantly to the country’s judicial reforms and worked closely with key government agencies and institutions.

He also trained civil servants in key government agencies to build capacity and understanding of international legal obligations related to the environment.

As a Member of Parliament in 2013-18, he was the chairperson of the Legislative Committee and Environment and Urban Development Committee. He was also a member of the National Judicial Commission.

Former member of National Council from Chhukha, Pema Tenzin has been served the party ticket to contest from Bongo-Chapchaa constituency in Chhukha.

For the last four years, Pema Tenzin has served as Business Director for a High-Net-Worth Individual who owns TF holding Ltd in Dubai.

During his tenure with the National Council, he served as the Chairperson of the Economic Affairs Committee and as a member of the Environment Committee. His contribution in the field of legislative and policy review spans across the Companies Act, Tourism policy, Agriculture policy, Hydropower policy, and Education Policy.

Pema Tenzin believes that his exposure and experience is apt for Tendrel’s vision to bring the much-needed economic advancement by making corporate bodies and the private sector robust for socio-economic growth.

He has a Master’s in Business Administration from Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia and Bachelor of Commerce from Sherubtse College.

Dr Gyambo Sithey, author of a political book, ‘Drukyul Decides’ will contest from Lingmukha-Toedwang constituency in Punakha.

He has remained a keen spectator of Bhutan’s democratic transition as documented in his three editions of ‘Drukyul Decides.’ His signature book is the only document providing comprehensive reference on Bhutan’s elections thus illustrating his vehement interest in politics. He now aspires to change the narrative of Bhutanese politics as a participant.

The 51-year-old researcher has served as the national nutrition programme manager and as a World Bank Project Coordinator for HIV and AIDS in the Ministry of Health for 12 years before resigning to join the private sector in 2008.

He has a Master’s of Science in Nutrition, a Post Graduate Degree in Public Administration and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in Public Health from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Ugyen Dem, 30-year-old, represents Khatoed-Laya constituency in Gasa. Ugyen Dem has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Dzongkha and more than five years of experience in teaching.

Ugyen Dem is passionate about improving social and basic services for key populations and vulnerable groups including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or questioning (LGBTQI) community. She wants to make a difference in their lives through policy and legislative reforms.

Inclusive prosperity, where everyone enjoys the freedom to be who they are and contribute to national development is Ugyen’s priority.

To create a vibrant, dedicated and committed society, Ugyen believes in recognizing the value and contribution of every Bhutanese citizen in the national development. While economic development is a priority, there are also other areas that need attention so that the entire nation can be empowered.

Dr. Sonam M Penjor, BTP’s North Thimphu candidate is a multi-disciplinarian with skills and expertise ranging across hospitality, tourism, business, acting and leadership.

He has a Doctorate in International Business and Global Management from European International University, Paris, France, a Master’s of Business Administration in Hotel and Tourism management from Cesar Ritz, Switzerland. He also boasts of a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Human Resource Management from the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

Before joining politics, Sonam was the Chairperson of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan (HRAB), and Executive Committee Board Director of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). He was the Managing Director of Diethelm Travel Bhutan and the Chief Executive Officer of dusitD2 Yarkay, Bhutan.

BTP’s candidate from Sombaykha constituency in Haa is 33-year-old Ngawang Tobgay. Despite his young age, he served as the Executive Director of the Film Association of Bhutan. He believes that leveraging the potential of the film industry can meaningfully engage our youth and promote our language and culture.

He has a Post Graduate Diploma in National Law from Royal Institute of Management and BA LLB from Diwan Law College, Meerut, India.

Ngawang Tobgay is driven by his passion to enhance youth engagement in democracy by facilitating skills development and creating new opportunities.

52-year-old Rinchen Wangdi, the former Secretary of Gross National Happiness Commission, is the party’s candidate from Bartsham-Shongphu, Trashigang.

He undertook an intensive leadership program for Bhutan Executive Services training at Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS).

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he was the head of the Public Service Delivery Desk that was set up to coordinate with other government agencies to ensure uninterrupted service delivery during lockdowns.

Rinchen Wangdi’s ambition is to make Bhutan a high-income nation by empowering every individual to contribute to economic development. He believes there is huge untapped potential for Bhutan to reap the opportunities of the 21st century and create a robust economy.

Rinchen Wangdi has a Master’s in Development Economics from the Australian National University.

The newly formed party and its president Dasho Pema Chewang aims to remove structural barriers, harmonize laws and policies by taking into consideration the ground realities and ensure effective implementation of systemic and relevant reforms with help of hardworking and honest civil servants.

The party says that their 47-member team will be revealed from time to time.

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