… BTP advances to general round

KP Sharma, and Neten Dorji

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged victorious in 39 out of the 47 constituencies during the primary round of the fourth National Assembly elections held yesterday.

Led by Sombaykha candidate and former prime minister, Tshering Tobgay, PDP garnered over 42 percent of the total votes cast, with more than 63 percent coming from electronic voting machines (EVMs). The party received more than 50,000 postal ballots.

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) also secured 61,331 votes and four constituencies – Khamaed-Lunana, Khamdang-Ramjar, Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong, and Wamrong.

Following the results, PDP President Tshering Tobgay expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support and stated that the outcome reflects the faith and trust the people have in the party’s vision for Bhutan. Tobgay emphasized continuity and growth in the upcoming general round.

PDP notably penetrated Druk Phuensum Tshogpa strongholds, winning in constituencies such as Nanong-Shumar, Panbang, Kengkhar-Weringla, and others in Bumthang, Samdrupjongkhar, and Trashigang dzongkhags.

Bhutan Tendrel Party, despite being a new entrant, will face off against the People Democratic Party next month in an attempt to form a new democratic government. For BTP, incumbency was not a concern at least in the primary round.

According to provisional results, BTP won in four constituencies, with the remaining votes divided among four parties.

BTP president Pema Chewang received congratulatory messages and expressed satisfaction with the outcome. He said that the party’s focus on systemic issues, rules, and regulations, and attributed the trust in the party to the background of many candidates being civil servants and former members of parliament.

On the possibility of switching candidates, Pema Chewang stated that there is no such plan as of now. He said that it would be left to the candidate’s choice whether to participate or withdraw.

Pema Chewang was confident in forming the government, and saw the need to strategise and work harder before the general round.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s president, Dr Lotay Tshering, acknowledged the results and extended wishes to the two parties advancing to the general round.

Most polling stations reported significant early turnout as voters aimed to quickly cast their votes and return to farm work. The overall voter turnout, based on data from returning officers, stands at 63.03 percent, with 195,719 votes on EVMs and 117,443 through postal ballots.

For the National Assembly elections 2023-24, 497,058 voters are registered on the electoral roll, including 370,698 EVM voters and 126,360 eligible postal voters (124,273 in-country and 2,087 overseas).