Also, results show that Eastern Bhutan is not the DPT stronghold that it is projected to be
One of the the big revelations of the 2018 primary round was the decisive impact of the postal ballots in deciding the outcome of the primary round.
As per the EVM votes in the primary round PDP stood first, DNT second and DPT third but the postal ballot votes changed it around to oust PDP and put DNT in first place and DPT in second.
This lead to political parties to calculate that their survival would depend on postal ballots.
However, this theory has been upended in the general election round as of the 47 seats the postal ballots managed to change the results in only four seats.
The first is Chumig-Ura where the DNT candidate had won on the EVM machines but the DPT candidate won narrowly with 18 votes due to the higher postal votes that he got.
The second outcome was in Draagteng-Langthil where the DNT candidate had lost at the EVM but the DNT candidate won the total votes by 73 votes due to the postal votes for him.
In the third case in Lamgong-Wangchang the DNT candidate had lost at the EVM but he won by 70 votes due to the postal voters.
In the fourth case the DNT candidate for Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong had won at the EVM but lost by 28 votes due to postal ballots.
In fact, in an opposite case in the three constituencies of Mongar (DNT), Radhi-Sakteng (DNT) and Bardo Trong (DPT) the winning candidates had lost the postal ballot vote but still won at the EVM.
Another popular theory after the 2018 primary round is that EVM and PB voters vote differently but this theory is proven wrong in the 2018 general election results where of the 47 seats a total of 43 seats show harmony between the EVM and PB voters voting in the same direction.
This shows that rather than voting as separate EVM or PB voters the vast majority of the Bhutanese electorate vote in a similar manner.
Now this may encourage the old political myth that PB voters influence the EVM outcome. However, while there is harmony in the overall voting pattern of PB and EVM there is no evidence at all to suggest that PB voting influences the EVM voting.
In fact, in the 2018 general election results if one looks at the results of the individual parties there is a sizeable difference in how EVM and PB voters voted for each party.
In the case of DNT it had a much stronger advantage on the EVM with it getting 56.5 percent of the EVM votes while it got only 52.21 percent of the postal ballots.
In the case of DPT it did much better with postal ballots getting 47.7 percent of PB votes but then it did poorly at the EVM getting only 43.4 percent of the EVM votes.
The above shows a lack of PB voters influence on EVM voters and also that EVM voters had a stronger preference for DNT than the PB voters.
In the general round of the 22,375 additional voters that turned up to vote it comprised of 17,035 new EVM voters and 5,340 postal voters.
There were a total of 313,473 voters who voted with a turnout of 71.46 percent. Of this EVM voters comprised 199,553 voters with a turnout of 65.50 percent while PB voters comprised 113,920 voters with a turnout of 85.01 percent.
A big factor in DNT’s win is retaining the 16 constituencies it won in the primary round and also winning 9 of the PDP’s constituencies.
Then it took five more from DPT in seats where the DNT and PDP voters combine were stronger.
DNT and DPT had a close fight in 11 seats with the vote difference being below or around 200 votes. These are Chumig-Ura (DPT by 18 votes), Khamaed-Lunana (DNT by 58 votes), Mongar (DNT by 77 votes), Lamgong-Wangchang (DNT by 70 votes), North Thimphu (DNT by 174 votes), Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong (DPT by 28 votes), Radhi-Sakteng (DNT by 233 votes), Thrimshing (DNT by 187 votes), Draagteng-Langthil (DNT by 73 votes), Nubi-Tangsibji (DNT by 140 votes) and Bardo Trong (DPT by 126 votes.)
Interestingly of the 11 closely contested seats 3 seats went to DPT while the majority eight went DNT’s way. This would indicate that DNT may not have won these eight seats without adequate support from PDP and also BKP voters.
This could have reduced DNT down to just 22 seats from the current 30 and DPT could have formed the government.
The general election results also show that the east is not an exclusive preserve of the DPT as the DNT not only won four seats in Radhi-Sakteng, Thrimshing, Gangzur-Minjey and Mongar but it also gave a decent fight in Maenbi-Tsaenkhar, Dewathang-Gomdar, Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong, Wamrong and Bardo-Trong.
Note: The print version of the story said only three seats had been changed by PB votes while the headline reflected only two. The actual number is four seats being affected by PB votes. The error is regretted.