DNT receives mandate to form the new government
On 18 October, nation went to the polls to elect the new government in nation's third parliamentary elections. Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) storms to power after winning 30 seats out of 47 members for the lower house.
DNT which had knocked out in 2013 primary round has scored an upset victory and left many surprised as Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) was barred from the race with 17 seats to form the opposition.
The people have now chosen a different party to rule at each election since the introduction of parliamentary elections in 2008. The winning party, DNT bagged 63.8 percent of total votes cast, while DPT secured 36.2 percent.
The President of DNT, Lotay Tshering at the press conference, said that the victory of the elections is not for the party, it is for the country. “We should think the winning is for the country not to the individual constituency.”
Lotay Tshering said that there are no winners or losers. “We will treat every individual as a Bhutanese,” he said, “We are all for the country and we should work as one nation.”
To build a strong democracy, Lotay Tshering said was not only a responsibility of politicians but of all citizens. “If we really understand the democratic process, ultimately our nation will be greatly benefited.”
Of the total 10 women candidates contested in the general elections, seven women have been elected to the house. DNT won all five women candidates, while DPT won two women candidates of the five contested in the general elections.
Lotay Tshering said if there are more women capable participants, they will shine. “It is very difficult to find women who are capable and interested to participate and join the elections,” he said, “I don't think people voted them because they are women, but they are capable.”
The new government expects to work closely with other parties. Lotay Tshering said that his team looks forward to work together. As soon as the party formally forms the government, he said the government would invite all the participants from other political parties, the stakeholders, the major players, and identify the relevant expertise and work from a team.
Lingmukha-Toedwang elect member, Tandi Dorji also said the party will continue in their way ,they intended to function. “We also intend to have common platforms, where we want to interact with other parties,” he said, “We hope that we will be able to work once or twice in a year.”
Besides, the government also expects to emphasis on all parties manifesto to incorporate the important and useful pledges. The President said DNT will not politicize the government. “We will not emphasize only on DNT pledges,”
Tandi Dorji said that it doesn't mean that only DNT's manifesto is the best. “We always said we consider everybody's manifesto,” he said, “Everybody has prepared their manifesto in the best interest.”
Meanwhile, the elect government ensures all the plans and policies that are ongoing and in the pipeline will be continued and completed. Lotay Tshering said, “We will make sure that everything goes smoothly and give the due credit to the people who have started.”
DNT had campaigned on a promise to offer Bhutan ‘a change'. Among the factors attributed to the defeat of the DPT is the party's decision to narrow the wealth gap and improving health system in the country. This struck a chord with the voters.
Besides, the the party pledges are developing of hospitals, schools, roads, electricity and drinking water among others.
Of the 47 member elects, a majority of 26 member elects holds master's degree and 20 have bachelor's degree, while only one holds PhD in academic qualification. In terms of age, one is in the 20s, 14 in 30s, 13 in 50s and two in their 60s.
There are 438,663 registered voters out of total 681,720 populations. Of the total voters, 313,473 voters turn out on the poll which counts at 71.46 percent. A historic day saw 159,319 female voters and 154,154 male voters.
According to the data, 113,920 voters cast their ballots and 199,553 voters cast Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the 865 polling stations.
Besides EVM, 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 were also used in the electoral process, where 102,363 voters exercised their franchises.
The winning party needed 24 out of 47 seats up for grabs to form the government after two other parties were knocked out in a primary voting round in September.
Four registered political parties, People's Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) contested in the first round of elections with an aim to get qualified for the final round.
President of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa Lotey Tshering casts his vote at the Sisina polling station