Sangay Ngedup leaves the party
26 March, 2009 – Former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, Sangay Ngedup, blamed himself for PDP’s defeat in the 2008 general elections as he resigned from the party on March 22.
About 400 PDP members and supporters gathered in Thimphu for their annual meeting, one year after winning 2 of the 47 seats to the National Assembly. The former agriculture minister, Sangay Ngedup, said that he was resigning because “it was in the best interest of the party and the country.” He said that, as the party president, he bore responsibility for losing in the country’s first elections, but that the party must now continue with new, young leadership, who could take PDP forward.
“We had good candidates with knowledge and work experience for the elections but the party failed under my leadership,” he said. “The same thing might happen in the next elections.”
But party members and supporters urged Sangay Ngedup to stay on. The opposition leader Tshering Tobgay said that the party might be weakened without his leadership and that he, as the president, gave them hope when they had lost the elections. “Our president told us after the elections that we lost but we did not die. I’d like to tell him the same thing today, hoping that he wouldn’t resign from the party,” he said.
Sangay Ngedup explained that he was not resigning because he is angry or upset or that he lost from his own constituency. “But, in most democratic countries, where a party loses by a huge margin, the president steps down, giving opportunities to other capable people in the party.” However, he added that he was still shocked with the results and did not understand why the party lost. “We should move forward and strengthen PDP for a vibrant democracy.”
Opposition leader Tshering Tobgay was elected as the new PDP president along with three vice presidents: Damcho Dorji from Goen-khatoey-Laya constituency in Gasa, Sipsu constituency’s Ritu Raj Chhetri and Yeshey Dorji from Menbi-Tsenkhar constituency in Lhuentse. A new general secretary, Sonam Jatsho, from upper Kurtoe, was also appointed after Lam Kesang formally resigned from the party last week.
Talking to Kuensel from his office, the new PDP president said: “I was elected president only because I am the opposition leader and it was not an endorsement of my leadership abilities. The moment we find a person, who is capable and more willing, the post would go to that person.”
However, he said that the new team would work together to address the concerns of party members. “We also have to ensure that PDP survives, contributes to nation building and provides strong and constructive opposition.”
The party owes about Nu 3.5 million to media agencies and private firms. The opposition leader said that party members and supporters were doing everything in the spirit of volunteerism to meet the party expenses.