DNT re­ceives man­date to form the new govern­ment

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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

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