Vot­ers de­feat rul­ing PDP in pri­mary round of NA elec­tions

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan de­clares the re­sults of the pri­mary round of elec­tion yes­ter­day

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.

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