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Gelephu Project: Bhutan's Election & Economic Revival



  Dec 21, 2023

Gelephu Project and Economic Revival: Key Issues in Bhutan's Elections



Overview:

Gelephu Project: Announced by King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, this megacity project aims to be an economic hub on Bhutan’s southern border with Assam.

Economic Challenges: The project and reviving Bhutan’s economy are major tasks for the next Prime Minister after the January 9 elections.

Election Contenders:

Tshering Tobgay: Former Prime Minister, representing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), focusing on reversing youth migration and revitalizing the economy.

Pema Chewang: Former civil servant, leading the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), emphasizing support for the Gelephu project.

Project Significance:

Economic and Social Impact: Gelephu is seen as key to providing employment and skilling opportunities in Bhutan, reducing youth migration.

Regional Importance: The project is viewed as beneficial not just for Bhutan but for all of South Asia.

Economic Context:

PostCOVID Recovery: Bhutan’s economy was hit hard by the pandemic, leading to youth outmigration due to lack of opportunities.

Inflation Concerns: Voters express worries about inflation and economic stability.

Political Dynamics:

Election Trends: Bhutanese elections have historically seen incumbents voted out, with surprises in the second rounds.

PDP’s Current Lead: PDP is ahead in the polls, but past trends suggest potential for unexpected outcomes.

Geopolitical Factors:

King’s Involvement: The King’s endorsement indicates the project’s continuity regardless of political changes.

International Relations: Bhutan’s relations with India and China, especially concerning investments and border demarcation, are crucial for the project’s success.

Conclusion:

The Gelephu project, along with economic revival, forms the crux of Bhutan's upcoming elections, reflecting broader concerns about youth employment, economic stability, and regional cooperation.

SRIRAM’s


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