The speculation and doubt over which two political parties will make it through to Bhutan’s general election on July 13 has been finally put to rest for now with the much anticipated primary poll results out nationwide. According to people’s verdict, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will go on to fight for 47 seats in the National Assembly – a rematch of the 2008 elections.
Heartiest congratulations and kudos to the former ruling and the opposition parties for making it past the first hurdle, again after five long years. Whatever maybe the outcome of the final battle, they are definitely there for sure. The two parties are there to form the next ruling and the opposition party, therefore creating another critical watershed in the history of Bhutan.
The primary election was no doubt an arduous contest between the two incumbent parties. That’s what it appeared so initially. However, it was only after some time when DPT demonstrated that they are still the favorite to win this election as well with the party securing 93,949 votes against PDP’s 68,650 votes.
But one datum that is becoming more apparent now, going by this result, is that PDP is emerging out much stronger. Against DPT’s win in 33 constituencies, PDP has triumphed in 12 constituencies; something which didn’t happen in the 2008 elections. Whether a similar thing will happen in the general election, only time will tell?
Similarly, there were other revelations too. Things didn’t pretty turn out good for the new parties – Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DNT) – that contested the primary election, thus revealing that the incumbency factor still played a pivotal role in the present election results.
Votes secured by these two losing parties further showed that the country’s electorate was simply not in congruency with or for the change these parties purported to bring about. DNT’s slogan of ‘New Times, New Ideas’ simply didn’t go well with much of the electorate, and similar was the case with DCT’s ‘The change we need, the voice we deserve’. Perhaps, this was also indication that Bhutanese electorate is not yet ready for change, at least for now.
Despite the not-so-promising results, new parties as well as its candidates shouldn’t be deterred. Parties and candidates should be applauded for their spirit of democracy and for offering democratic choice to the people. What is a democracy if it was devoid of choices? This in itself is a remarkable feat for the new parties and its candidates.
But true to the adage that when horns are locked, there is just one winner; the winners here are DPT and PDP for now. They have surmounted the first hurdle successfully, but the show is not over yet.