Bhutan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party was defeated in the first round of elections on Saturday to the country’s National Assembly. The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa party secured the most number of votes, followed by the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa party, with the incumbent party coming third.
The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa secured 92,722 votes, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa 90,020 votes and the People’s Democratic Party 79,883 votes. As many as 66.7% of the electorate had cast their ballot, The Bhutanese reported. The newspaper described the election result as a “major upset”.
The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa will now contest in a second round of polling on October 18. Four parties – the People’s Democratic Party, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party contested the first round.
Incumbent Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on Saturday congratulated the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa and the Druk Phensum Tshogpa on Facebook. “I congratulate DNT and DPT and their candidates, their outstanding performance in the primary round of Bhutan’s third parliamentary election,” he said. “I would also like to congratulate the president of the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party [Dashto Neten Zangmo] and all their candidates for taking part in this important election.”
“The people of Bhutan have spoken,” he said. “And the People’s Democratic Party graciously accepts their decision. The will of the people must prevail in a democracy.”