What do the 2024 National Assembly election results reveal?

As the dust settles from the 2024 National Assembly election, the resounding victory of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is evident. Winning 30 out of 47 seats, PDP secured a significant mandate to form the fourth government in Bhutan’s democratic era.

While it was anticipated that PDP would return to power after the primary round, the extent of their success in the general round was uncertain. Concerns arose about the potential challenges associated with an absolute majority for the party. Historically, PDP, which initially won only two seats in 2008, had experienced the dynamics of a smaller representation, including successfully navigating constitutional challenges.

The fears of an overwhelming majority, however, were alleviated as PDP did not replicate their primary round dominance, where they secured victories in 39 of the 47 constituencies. The Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) winning 17 seats provides a vital opposition, essential for maintaining checks and balances within the government.

However, the geographical pattern of voting has become a notable talking point. South, west, and north Bhutan predominantly supported PDP, while the majority of constituencies in the east favoured BTP. This shift in voting patterns and worrying chasm is speculated to be influenced largely by historical party affiliations and local coordinators.

The general expectation was that supporters of other parties would rally behind BTP, seeking a more balanced political landscape. Some attribute BTP’s success in the general round to the lack of controversies over postal ballots, with candidates receiving substantial support even from voters who had initially chosen other parties in the primary round.

With the election now over, heightened expectations surround the incoming PDP government. Promising economic revival during the campaign, PDP faces crucial tasks, particularly with the initiation of the 13th Five-Year Plan coinciding with Bhutan’s graduation from the group of least developed countries.

As Bhutan anticipates a period of change, the spotlight remains on PDP and its commitment to delivering progress and development, as solemnly promised during their campaigns. The electorate awaits the fulfilment of these promises and the realisation of a vision for a thriving and prosperous Bhutan under the new government.