He is the face of the party to most Bhutanese, the most vocal Member of Parliament when in Opposition and a former minister. Nobody doubted that Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s Pangbang candidate, Dorji Wangdi would lose.

On Thursday, despite a technical glitch that declared him as the runners-up briefly, the former labour minister won for the third time from Pangbang. 

However, this time it was a closely contested election in Pangbang. Dorji Wangdi with 2,984 votes won by 459 votes. It was a close contest both on the EVM and postal ballot. On the EVM, Dorji Wangdi won by 92 more votes while he fared well on the postal ballot. He won by 367 more postal votes.

The difference was made from Goshing gewog where Dorji Wangdi contested.  He won 203 more votes than his contestant, Tshering. Dorji Wangdi’s popularity in lower Kheng also mattered in his winning. He lost by a single vote in Nangla gewog where Tshering was contesting. Dorji Wangdi won 556 and Tshering 557 votes.

Both the candidates received balanced support from Bjoka and Phangkhar gewogs.

In the other constituency, Bardo-Trong, the contest was even tighter. 

When the results started rolling in, Nyamrup’s Sonam Leki was leading by 159 votes. However, DPT’s Gyambo Tshering secured 338 votes from his gewog, Khomshar, to make up for the difference.  Sonam Leki got only six in Khomshar PS.

This turned the result on Gyambo Tshering side, as Sonam Leki couldn’t make up the difference. In Shingkhar, Thrisa, Tsheldang, Wamling, Nangkor and Goleng PS, Sonam Leki secured more votes on the EVM. Bardo, Khomshar, Langdurbi, Kyidkhar, Tingtibi and Tshanglajong voted for Gyambo Tshering.

DNT’s Tshering, who lost for the second time to his same opponent said, he was not pleased with the result as he had expected to win at least this time. “I have done good groundwork, but the result was unexpected,” he said.

“People voted for change this time as they knew which party was coming to form the government,” he said. Going by the voting pattern, it was clear that the people got the message for change, he said. “There is a drastic improvement in the support.”

Tshering in an earlier interview said that people in some parts of the chiwogs in his constituency had made their mind and it was difficult to change their minds.

Meanwhile, voters said the election went well without any problem in their dzongkhag.  Sonam Wangchuk, 18, a Class XII is happy that DNT won. ‘There will be no cutoff point and there will be free WiFi,” he said.  Sonam Wangchuk who voted for the first time said he was a bit nervous to use the EVM, but was happy that he voted.

Sangay from Goshing gewog said Dorji Wangdi could represent them in better ways as he speaks a lot in the house. “We need someone who can talk about our problems in the parliament.”

Dorji Wangdi and Sonam Leki were not reachable for comments.

Tashi Tenzin | Zhemgang