Postal ballot sways results in Zhemgang

LG: Dorji Wangchuk’s 15 years of experience as a local leader, and his strong links with  government officials, did not help him this election.

The former Trong gup and dzongkhag tshogdu chairperson, despite securing a good number of votes in the EVM count was undone by the postal ballot count.

This is because the people of Gomphu chiwog, whom once supported him, now had their own candidate.

Dorji Wangchuk was short by 17 votes.

Wangyal, a candidate from Gomphu, secured victory when he received 204 postal ballot votes compared to Dorji Wangchuk’s 67.

Gup–elect Wangyel said he is both worried as well as excited to serve the people. He said his priority will be to discuss every plan with the people and to work together.

“People still like the former’s good relations with government officials and his support to the people, but they also wanted a new face,” he said.

Wangyel, who did not say much during his campaign and the common forums, was viewed as someone with little leadership quality.

Wangyel is worried if the limited government budget will be enough for all gewog activities. “I am a bit worried how to raise funds like the former gup did.”

But the former gup, Dorji Wangchuk said that as the gup-elect is more educated, he would be able to serve better.

Gomphu chiwog has 495 eligible voters, of which 90 percent voted for Wangyel.

During his campaign, he had pledged that development works will be spread equally among all chiwogs.

Wangyel after serving as a lab assistant for more than seven years graduated from the Taktsi Institute of Language and Culture Studies.

Supporters of Wangyel said that while the former gup was still capable, it was time for change.

A shopkeeper in TIngtibi said she was not happy with the former gup as Tingtibi has remained dormant for years.

A university-graduate candidate from Nangkor gewog, Choezang, also lost as a result of postal ballot votes.

People of Nyakhar, Kidkhar and Goleng under Nangkor gewog in upper Kheng did not see their candidates elected because of the postal ballot.

Choezang, who was leading with 436 EVM votes against former gup Dorji Wangchuk’s 375, saw victory slip away when the latter got 207 postal ballot votes while he got only 114.

“Maybe I was not familiar to those working in other places,” said Choezang. “Hope the new gup-elect will fulfill my supporters’ wishes. I will come back.”

A supporter from Nyakhar said people of the chiwog are worried as the farm road between Duenmang –Kamjong was never completed because they didn’t support the gup-elect in the last election.

“We hoped our own candidate would solve this problem,” said another supporter.

The farm road, which was started in 2013, is yet to be completed according to  villagers.

Dorji Wangchuk said there is nothing for Choezang’s supporters to worry about as he will treat all the chiwogs and gewogs equally.

“In the last election, only a few voters from Kidkhar voted for me, but I still supported them,” he said.

Tashi Tenzin | Zhemgang

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