People’s Democratic Party wins general elections

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the largest number of seats in the parliamentary elections and is poised to form the new government.

According to the latest figures from the Bhutan Broadcasting Service, PDP won 30 out of the 47 National Assembly seats and Bhutan Tendrel Party secured 17 seats.

This was Bhutan’s fourth general election since transitioning from a traditional monarchy to a parliamentary form of government 15 years back.

The election campaigns focused on economic growth and opportunity, despite the country’s use of a “Gross National Happiness” index in place of gross domestic product (GDP), Al Jazeera reported.

The report said that both parties in the election are committed to a constitutionally enshrined philosophy of a government that measures its success by the “happiness and wellbeing of the people”.

Tshering Tobgay, who leads People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is expected to become prime minister for the second time. He was the leader of the opposition in Bhutan’s first parliament when it was established in 2008, soon after the start of the reign of the present king.

He has sounded the alarm about Bhutan’s “unprecedented economic challenges and mass exodus”, Al Jazeera reported, adding that PDP manifesto cited government statistics showing that one in every eight people were “struggling to meet their basic needs for food” and other necessities.

Approximately half a million voters selected the members of parliament from a pool of 94 candidates presented by the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and the PDP. A primary round of voting in November eliminated three other parties, including the governing centre-left Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa party, the report said.

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