Three Bhutanese eyeing political ambitions in South Australia

Three Bhutanese in South Australia have nominated themselves to content in the upcoming local government elections.

The elections for 75 councils in the state are scheduled for October-November.

Kamal Dahal, Puskar Poudyal and Lok Nath Ghimire are first Nepali-speakers to contest local government election in state’s history. Dahal and Ghimire are contesting for North and Central wards of Salisbury council whereas Poudel is contesting in Ward 4 of the neighbouring Palyford council.

North ward in Salisbury council has the highest concentration of the resettled Bhutanese in south Australia. Central ward of the Salisbury Council and Playford Council have smaller Bhutanese and Nepalese population.

The three contestants have told BNN that their candidacy was not meant for any political career but to serve the local community as social worker. ‘Future career in politics will be determined by outcome of the council election,’ Poudyal said.

‘I have no ambition for politics but it is my subject of interest,’ Ghimire said.

‘I have political affiliation but my candidacy for council is independent of any such affiliations,’ Dahal told BNN.

Dahal is former two-term president of the Bhutanese Australian Association of South Australia (BAASA) and chairperson of the Labour’s Ramsay sub-branch. While Poudyal had serve in the community as secretary of BAASA and Bhutanese Association of Queensland. Ghimire, the youngest candidate is University student.

Salisbury’s North ward has four contestants for two seats whereas Central Ward has five candidates for two seats. In Playford’s Ward 4, Poudyal will face eight others for three seats.

Unlike Federal and State elections, council election is not mandatory and voters can opt not to cast their vote.

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