Voters defeat ruling PDP in primary round of NA elections
With voter turnout in large number at 66.36 percent, ruling party, People's Democratic Party (PDP) was defeated in the primary round on 15 September and failed to qualify for the general round.
After voting ended at 5-pm, postal ballot results were the first to roll in. As the initial leads came in, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) which had knocked out in 2013 primary round led the vote count followed by Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), the first ruling party and opposition party in the second elections.
The ranking of the parties was not changed even when the EVM results streamed in. With the final results of postal ballot and EVM, DNT secured the highest number of votes with 92,722 votes at 31.85 percent followed closely by DPT with 90,020 votes at 30.92 percent.
The incumbent PDP surprisingly came in third with 79,883 votes at 27.2 percent which knocks it out to participate in the final round of the third National Assembly (NA) elections. The defeat has shocked observers and politicians alike.
While the other contesting party, the fourth party, Bhutan Kuen-Nyam (BKP) secured only 9.78 percent of the total votes.
The two winning party will contest in the general round of elections to the lower house of parliament on 18 October.
In the facebook of DNT party President, Lotay Tshering congratulates all political parties for their participation in the primary round of the elections. He stated, “It is a matter of pride, to be part of the process with political parties formidable and those that have played critical role in the initial stages of the country's democratic transition.”
He also stated that finally the dreams for the country are coming true. “We are assured that a good understanding prevails among Bhutanese of the importance of democracy and that it is about the future of the country, not so much political parties.” He said, adding that they are convinced that more choices of political parties could be offered to the Bhutanese electorate in future elections.
Lotay Tshering led the DNT campaign with the theme of “Narrowing the gap” and improving health system in the country. He stated, “It has dawned on us even more that time has come for us to work together towards Narrowing the Gap and that prioritizing health of every Bhutanese meets the wishes of the people.”
DNT targets middle and lower middle-income groups as the poorest of poor do not have the capability to carry out economic activities and need to be supported.
Similarly, DPT President Pema Gyamtsho congratulates DNT for making through the primary round and PDP and BKP for carrying out their campaign one of the most exemplary and denitrified. “Now we have successfully completed the lap, we would like to extent our heartfelt gratitude to his Majesty the King and all our supporters.”
Pema Gyamtsho calls for the support in the general elections. The bigger hurdle still remains ahead as he said, “We have mountains to climb and tides to turn.”
Pema Gyamtsho led the DPT campaign with the theme of “progress for equity and justice”. The party targets to achieve self reliant by 2025.
More than half hour after the final constituency results were declared live, the President of PDP, Tshering Tobgay conceded the results of the elections and congratulated the two parties for making in general elections.
Congratulating the parties and candidates for taking part in election, he stated, “The people of Bhutan have spoken. And the People's Democratic Party graciously accepts their decision. The will of the people must prevail in a democracy.”
BKP Vice President, Sonam Tobgay, in his facebook page, congratulated DNT and DPT and appreciation for his team and PDP for giving their best. He stated that, for BKP, the journey has just begun for fourth elections. “We must accept the crushing defeat but we are not destroyed. BKP will rise and come back in 2023.”
Of the 438,663 registered voters, 291,098 voters turn out on the poll day for the party of their choice. Of the total voters, a historic day saw 147,070 female voters in the 865 polling stations.
In the primary round, the provision of postal voting was largely extended to civil servants, corporate employees, security personnel and their families, overseas Bhutanese and voters with special needs which accounted for 30.5 percent of the total registered voters compared to 9.93 percent in the 2013 NA elections.
The turnout among voters was 66.36 percent compared to 55 percent of overall voter turnout in 2013.