A North Thimphu landslide with national consequences

PDP swept all 14 polling stations with wide margins

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Tshering won the North Thimphu by-election with a landslide picking up 75.5 percent of the votes coming to 2032 votes.  The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidate Kessang Wangmo got 24.5 percent of the votes coming to 660 votes.

PDP swept all 14 polling stations with wide margins.

The North Thimphu by-election results are significant as the election was seen by many as a politically very significant one with one of the implications being on the 2018 race itself. This was one of the reasons why both parties exerted strong effort, with both candidates even going door to door for campaigning.

The winning candidate Tshering thanked the voters for the result. He pledged to serve the King, Country and People well. The candidate said that he word work towards fulfilling the pledges made to the public during the election.

On being asked for the reasons for his victory Tshering gave three reasons. The first he said was that he worked very hard with door to door campaigns. The second he said was due to the hard work of the Party President Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay.

He then said the third reason was because the voters have rewarded the PDP government for serving King, Country and People well. He elaborated that the PDP has delivered in terms of governance and promises.

Tshering said that he planned to thank as many voters as possible. He also extended his gratitude to DPT and its candidate for taking part in the election.

The PDP Secretary General Sonam Jatso said the result is very humbling. “We look at it as a serious responsibility to work hard, as it is one more encouragement to work even harder in the very little time left.”

He also expressed gratitude to the DPT candidate and its party and said that he received a Tashi Delek from his counterpart in DPT which he also returned. He said there were no issues and mudslinging in the campaign and it went very smoothly.

In response to a question Jatso said that one factor in the results would have been the performance of the government. He said apart from the larger performance of the government the people would also have seen the constituency level developmental works which are also being carried out in all constituencies across the country.

Echoing the candidate’s view Jatso said that the result is also due to the hard work of the Party President.

The secretary said that the result is important as it shows people recognize the work of PDP and so it would have an impact on the 2018 polls.

The Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho said the result was expected as it was an uphill battle for their candidate from the start.

“She knew this fact and she still came forward when there was no other candidate. This speaks for her character and commitment to serve especially being a woman and youth,” said the OL.

He also congratulated the PDP candidate for the win saying it was a very convincing win and that the people have made their choice.

When asked if the polls would have an impact on 2018, the OL said it is a matter subject to interpretation. He said he is not sure that an MP can make promises to give a half-fare helicopter ride to the constituency referring to the poll promise of subsidized helicopter service for the people of Lingzhi, Soe and Naro.

“In the next election the ruling government can say it will not charge for telephones or give a 50 percent concession on Druk Air to Bangkok. There is an advantage in being the ruling government,” the OL said.

The OL said that the result is not a good indicator for the barometer of democracy as the people prefer short term gains and individual personal benefit over the long term interest of the nation, self reliance, security and sovereignty of the nation.

When asked about what the election said about the state of the Opposition party the OL said that instead when the Prime Minister and ministers take the trouble of visiting each house personally it shows the ‘level of desperation.’

“As far as I am concerned I left it to our machinery,” said the OL.

In response to the OL’s comments the PDP Secretary General said that the PM went door to door as responsible leader of a party to make people aware of the options in front of them and to encourage people to come and vote.

“I think it is up to the people to judge. We have the mandate of the people and it is they who will judge us over the next 20 months on whether we fulfill our promises or not,” Jatso added.

The voter turnout was 42.6 percent. There were a total of 6,312 registered voters of which 2,692 voted. Of this there were 1513 female voters and 1179 male voters. There were 16 postal ballots of which 14 went to PDP and two to DPT.

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