PDP wins 32 seats to form the government

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won 15 seats


In what many are calling a ‘major upset,’ the world’s smallest Opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 32 of the 47 seats in the National Assembly to form the government for the next five years. Any party with 24 seats can form the government as it is more than half of the 47 member National Assembly.

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) which was the incumbent party with 45 former MPs managed to retain only 15 seats, losing around 30 seats in total to the PDP.

The voter turnout was at 66.07 percent, a drop from the 79.3 percent of the 2008 General Elections.

Of the 381,790 registered voters, there were 252,853 voters who exercised their franchise. And of the 252,853 voters, around 138,760 voted for PDP, while around 114,000 voted for DPT. This means that around 55 percent voted for PDP, whereas around 45 percent voted for DPT.

There were 44,259 accepted postal ballots, out of the 47,964 postal ballots that were issued from 47 constituencies. In terms of postal ballot voters, 25,853 voted for PDP while 18,406 voted for DPT.

On the voter turnout, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, “The voter turnout by international standards is something we should appreciate. The turnout has been lower than in 2008 because this time around it coincided with the peak agricultural season and also the monsoons.”

When asked for his reaction to the election results that went in favor of change the CEC said, “I am quite happy that the Bhutanese people are mature, know their priorities and would hold anyone seeking public office accountable.”

While the voters in general voted for change, it is interesting to note that postal ballots that are usually considered to be from civil servants, corporate employees, and armed forces went mainly in favor of PDP even in some of the constituencies they lost.

The postal ballots, in fact, ensured narrow victories for PDP in four constituencies, which are Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong, Wamrong, Mongar, and Khamaed-Lunana.

The PDP’s win has shown that election issues like the economy, eorruption, good governance, democratic issues among others played a major role.

The election results have also demolished any theories that the 2013 elections would be affected by regionalism. In fact, DPT won three keys western Bhutan constituencies in Thimphu and Paro, while PDP made major gains in the east in places like, the three seats in Trashigang, two in Samdrup Jongkhar, one in Mongar, and one in Lhuentse.

Apart from doing well in all parts of Bhutan, the PDP performed the best in its stronghold in southern Bhutan, sweeping all the constituencies there. It picked up all four seats in Samtse, two seats in Sarpang, two seats in Dagana, two seats in Tsirang, and two seats in Chukha.

PDP also tenaciously held on to all its seats in western Bhutan in dzongkhags like Haa, Paro, Punakha, Gasa, and Wangduephodrang. It also nearly took away North Thimphu from DPT, but by a few votes.

It also made inroads into central Bhutan by taking up a seat each in Bumthang, Trongsa, and Zhemgang.

It is interesting to note that PDP, which got around 68,545 votes in the primary round of elections, with 3 2.51% of the votes more than doubled it in the general elections. The DPT could only do marginally better in total vote count, while its percentage of votes remained similar to the primary rounds.

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