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The people have spoken

Bhutan’s elections are full of surprises. We have seen in the
past and on Saturday, the electorate pulled another big
surprise.
Before the poll day, many have written off the Druk Phuensum
Tshogpa (DPT) and thought that the People’s Democratic
Party and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa would go on to the general
round. PDP was beaten and DPT, the arch rival, won by more
than 10,000 votes.
From the results, it is clear Bhutanese wanted change. And
for change they voted in DNT. If DNT had convinced the people
that change was necessary in a democracy, people believed it.
DPT coming second was also a change. The party that formed
the first democratically elected government in 2008 and became
the opposition in 2013. This time, they wanted to give them a
chance.
Bhutanese voters, especially those who voted through the
postal ballot and facilitation centers silently spoke of what was
happening to the build up to the elections. There was drama unfolding
on the social media. People who didn’t like DPT maligned
the party. There were negative campaigning, allegations and the
party was portrayed as an anti-Bhutan party.
After the unfortunate incident in 2013, Bhutanese people
wanted to move on. A lot of the people did move on. The 2018
election was expected to be close with four political contesting.
All four parties had done their homework well and were ready
for a free and fair election.
Those who were behind the negative campaign against DPT
helped DPT win. Postal ballot voters waited for the election to
get back at those who was trying to dig, what Bhutanese say,
old dung, and trying to malign the party and create division in
the peaceful country. DPT had moved on. There is a new set of
candidates, some not even aware of the implications of the past
incidents. It was not fair for them to be portrayed as the bad
party.
DPT’s support in its stronghold remained the same. People
didn’t make noise or come out openly supporting DPT. But they
did when it mattered. The so-called party supporters should
have learnt a good lesson from the electorate.
It is too early to say if DPT would form the government again.
But any strategy planned against DPT, as they prepare for the
general round, could backfire again. There are words already
that PDP supporters would support DNT to ensure that DPT
remains the opposition party.
DPT had already won more constituencies in the primary
round surprising all. Don’t be surprised if DPT repeats the primary
round stunt.

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