54.3 % voter turn out makes it highest ever of last three NC polls

For first time higher men turnout due to postal ballot facilities

2 women candidates from Mongar and Punakha

Only five incumbents make it of the 12 in the final round

The 2018 National Council election saw the highest ever voter turn out at  54.3 percent which would higher than 45.15% in 2013 and 53.05% in 2008 even though there were more and younger voters in the 2018 polls.

Younger voters generally vote in lesser numbers worldover.

Unlike in the past years the overall voting turnout among men was mainly on account of the postal ballot and facilitation booth facility which allowed working men in different Dzongkhags to vote.

Of the 211,149 male voters a total of 118,726 voted comprising 56.22 percent turnout for men. The interesting figure here is that 80,307 male voters turned up to vote on EVMs lower than women but they voted in much larger numbers through the postal voter system coming to 38,419.

For female voters of the total 220,881 voters a total of 115,809 voted coming to a turnout of 52.4 percent. Here too interestingly there were higher female voters at the EVMs coming to 89,316 but they were lower then men at the postal ballots coming to 26,493.

Of the total 234,535 voters that came out to vote the male voters comprised 50.6 percent and female voters comprised 49.3 percent.

In 2013 and 2008 elections the men turnout was lower than women.

The above figures prove that lower turnout of men in the past was not due to a reluctance to vote but more due to economic reasons like having to spend a lot of time and money to head back to the village or Dzongkhag to vote.

The huge surge in applications for postal ballots this time was primarily on account of the postal ballot facilitation booth where people could go and vote. Of the 88,915 postal voters around 59,975 voters applied for the postal facilitation booth facility.

This facility would also have contributed to pushing up the total voter turnout as well.

In NC 2008 polls postal ballot votes were only 4742 votes at 2.8% and in NC 2013 it was 24,897 votes at 14% but in 2018 polls it was 64,912.

The main winner of the 2018 NC polls apart from the elected candidates is the ECB which has ensured higher turnout through easier voting facilities.

The above higher turnout and the postal ballot facilitation will also impact the National Assembly polls a few months from now.

The NC elections saw two women candidates in the NC in the form of Sonam Pelzom from Mongar and Lhaki Dolma from Punakha. This is significant given that only six women candidates were contesting in the final round compared to 121 male candidates. In 2013 no women candidates were elected to the NC.

The NC elections this time was markedly different from 2008 and 2013 with much higher number of candidates at 127 compared to 67 in 2013 and 52 in 2008.

Even at the Dhamngoi Zomdu level there was higher participation and interest with people coming in droves to listen and vote in their gewog representatives.

In 2013 there were 379,819 registered voters compared to 432,030 registered voters in 2018 a jump of 52,211 new and young voters.

The highly competitive National Council election race of 2018 lived up to its tough reputation as only five of the 12 contesting incumbent NC MPs made it back in Wangdue Phodrang, Bumthang, Lhuentse, Zhemgang and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Incumbent MPs from Haa, Thimphu, Trashiyangtse, Mongar, Chukha, and Sarpang did not make it back as new faces replaced them.

Another two from Gasa and Tsirang had already been eliminated in the Dhamngoi Zomdu while six from Paro, Trashigang, Pemagatshel, Punakha, Samtse and Dagana had decided not to contest.

In the 2013 NC election of the 18 contesting NC incumbents only six made it back in the house.

A combination of anti-incumbency and tough competition in the form of more candidates seem to have done the incumbents in.

However, some analysis shows that five of the 12 candidates making it back is a better return rate than  only six coming back out of 18 contesting incumbents in 2013.

This is in spite of the tougher competition and higher voter turnout.

Also in the 2013 NC polls the incumbents who lost had lost by huge margins reflecting voter anger, which was less visible this time.

This means that voters seem to be relatively a little more satisfied with the 2013-18 NC members than the previous 2008-13 one.

The winning candidates are Nima from Bumthang with 3513 votes, Sangay Dorji from Chukha with 5079 votes, Surjaman Thapa from Dagana with 2636 votes, Dorji Khandu from Gasa with 547 votes, Ugyen Namgay from Haa with 1730 votes, Tempa Dorji fro Lhuentse with 2569 votes, Sonam Pelzom from Mongar with 2,406 votes, Ugyen Tshering from Paro with 4763 votes, Choining Dorji from Pemagatshel with 3846 votes, Lhaki Dolma from Punakha with 2333 votes. (See details below table)

The other ten winning candidates are Tirtha Man Rai from Samtse with 6243 votes, Anand Rai from Sarpang with 4,278 votes, Tshewang Rinzin from Thimphu with 2117 votes, Lhatu from Trashigang with 4284 votes, Karma Gyeltshen from Trashiyangtse with 1952 votes, Tashi Samdrup with 2309 from Trongsa, Dhan Kumar Sunwar with 2825 votes from Tsirang, Tashi Dorji with 4995 votes from Wangdue Phodrang and Pema Dakpa from Zhemgang with 2639 votes.

The ECB will declare the final and formal results on Saturday where apart from minor corrections the results will remain largely the same.

About Tenzing Lamsang

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