… voter turnout up to 65.74% by three percent from primaries

Tshering Palden


In a repeat of the 2018 general election results, the winning party in the fourth National Assembly elections, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 30 seats in 13 dzongkhags yesterday. Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) won 17 seats mostly in the eastern dzongkhags where PDP secured only the Jomotshang-Martshala seat clearly marking a distinct support base for the parties.

In the 2018 general elections Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa won 30 seats and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa obtained 17 seats.

The general elections also saw an increase in voter turnout 65.74 percent up from 63 percent in the primary elections held on November 30. PDP obtained 179,652 votes, while 147,123 voted for BTP.

PDP’s victory was not a surprise after it won 39 constituencies leaving only eight constituencies split between three other parties.

Twelve constituencies switched sides in the general elections. Nine constituencies shifted their support from other parties including PDP to Bhutan Tendrel Party. Three constituencies in Trashigang, Thrimshing, Radhi-Sakteng, and Bartsham-Shongphu, where PDP won in the primary elections elected BTP candidates.

Other constituencies that supported PDP in the primaries – Bumdeling-Jamkhar, Dewathang-Gomdar, Bartsham-Shongphu, Kengkhar-Weringla, Gangzur-Minjey, Maenbi-Tsaenkhar, and Nanong-Shumar constituencies also elected BTP candidates.

The shift in support resulted in casualty of PDP’s three former ministers Norbu Wangchuk in Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong, Dorji Choden of Thrimshing, and Yeshey Dorji from Maenbi-Tsankhar constituencies.

However, PDP also broke into new grounds securing both seats in Gasa won by BTP and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa in the primaries, and its candidate Tshewang Rinzin won in South-Thimphu by a narrow margin of 35 votes.

The PDP was elected to form the government in National Assembly elections 2013 winning 32 constituencies. In 2008, it formed the smallest opposition party to date with only two members in the Parliament.

PDP General Secretary and Spokesperson, Kuenga Tashi said that the party worked tirelessly to transcend mere election victories.

“We aimed to embody the voice and advocate for the aspirations of our fellow citizens. We entrusted our destiny to the hands of the people, and their resounding voice has spoken. Humbly, we accept this profound responsibility bestowed upon us by the people, and we’re committed to fulfilling it with utmost dedication,” he said.

He said that PDP’s victory was likely influenced by a multitude of factors, including the dedication of our supporters, the resonance of our policies with the people’s needs, and perhaps a bit of luck. “It’s not just one thing but a combination of efforts and circumstances that culminated in our success.”

Kuenga Tashi thanked the voters, “This victory isn’t just ours; it’s yours too. We’re committed to fulfilling His Majesty’s profound visions for our country, serving each one of you, listening to your concerns, and working tirelessly to make Bhutan a better place for all.”

“Let’s move forward together, acknowledging our differences but united in our common aspirations for a brighter future,” he said.

PDP’s president Tshering Tobgay did not want to comment until the Election Commission of Bhutan declares the final results today.

The general elections exposed the same usual errors in postal ballots resulting in rejection of hundreds of ballots, some reported to wrong polling stations, while others turned up intoxicated or with expired identity cards.

The Gasa dzongkhag election authority had to intervene and allow 27 unregistered voters from Laya and Lunana who turned up at the Khuruthang polling station set up for the convenience of the highlanders at their winter camps in Punakha. They were registered at polling stations in their respective villages.