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Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

DTT faces crucial funding dilemma after election defeat

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 15:03

Dechen Dolkar

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) encountered a challenging outcome, securing the lowest votes with 30,814, as per the provisional results announced yesterday.

As per the Public Election Fund Act, a party becomes eligible for state funding if it secures at least 10 percent of the valid votes cast in the primary round for the National Assembly elections. With DTT falling below this threshold, the party will need to self-fund its future campaigns if it plans to contest the next parliamentary elections.

DTT garnered only 9.83 percent of the total 313,162 votes cast and faced defeat in every constituency.

DTT’s president, Kinga Tshering, experienced defeat in his own North Thimphu constituency, securing 669 votes compared to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which received 1602 votes.

Despite securing the third-highest number of votes, the overall outcome for DTT was below expectations.

Expressing disappointment with the election results, Kinga Tshering said, “For the competent, professional, and promising candidates we fielded in this election, expectations were high.”

He acknowledged shortcomings, saying, “Maybe Sunomics didn’t really reach all the way down to the people as well as we had hoped. As the president of the party, the buck stops with me. I probably lacked in articulation to drive Thuendrel’s message and its manifesto hard enough.”

Despite the unexpected outcome, Kinga Tshering remains optimistic about the future of the party. He emphasised the trust in the young, talented, and capable candidates within DTT, saying, “We entrust DTT’s future to them. It is for them to carry it forward, and when the time comes for them to lead, we hope and pray the sun comes to shine.”


PDP secures convincing victory in Haa

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 15:02

KP Sharma

As expected, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) clinched victory in both constituencies of Haa during the primary rounds of the National Assembly election.

Out of the 5,724 votes cast through electronic voting machines (EVM) and postal ballots across the two constituencies, PDP emerged as the clear winner with an impressive count of 3,766 votes.

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) secured the second position with 892 votes, followed by Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) in third place with 464 votes.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by the overwhelming support shown by the people in this historic election. The results are an indication of the faith and trust the people have placed in our vision for Bhutan. We believe that the results reflect the hopes and aspirations of every Bhutanese,” said PDP president Tshering Tobgay. “Moving forward, our plan for the general round is centred on continuity and growth. We aim to build upon the foundation of trust and confidence bestowed upon us by the People of Bhutan.”

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) claimed the fourth position with 356 votes, while Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) gathered 289 votes.

In Sangbaykha, the constituency of the PDP president, PDP secured the highest votes with 720 postal ballots and 1,413 EVM votes. BTP secured 195 votes through EVM and 31 through postal ballots. DNT received 91 EVM votes and 62 postal ballots. DTT won 103 EVM votes and 33 postal ballots, whereas DPT obtained 109 EVM votes and 21 postal ballots.

In the Bji-Kartshog-Uesu constituency, PDP garnered 1,162 EVM votes and 471 postal ballots. BTP received 498 EVM votes and 128 postal ballots. DNT secured 241 EVM votes and 70 postal ballots. DTT obtained 166 EVM votes and 54 postal ballots, whereas DPT received 135 EVM votes and 54 postal ballots.

Haa, with two constituencies and approximately 8,565 registered voters, witnessed an active and participative electoral process.

Decisive win for PDP in Chukha constituencies

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 15:02

Thinley Namgay

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) celebrated a resounding triumph in both Chukha constituencies—Bongo Chapchha and Phuentshogling—securing an overwhelming total of 11,194 votes.

Even when combining the total votes of the four other parties, they fell short of matching PDP’s impressive count. The combined votes of the other four parties amounted to 7,484, trailing by 3,710 votes behind the PDP.

The party excelled in both electronic voting machine (EVM) and postal ballot (PB) votes.

With a total of 18,678 votes cast, PDP claimed approximately 60 percent, showcasing strong and widespread support.

Chukha, with a total of 28,987 voters—comprising 14,359 males and 14,628 females—saw a 64 percent voter turnout in this primary election.

Breaking down the results, PDP secured 6,575 votes from Bongo Chapchha, including 4,292 EVM votes and 2,283 PB votes. In Phuentshogling, the party bagged 4,619 votes, with 3,693 EVM votes and 926 PB votes.

Some attribute PDP’s success to its established support base in Chukha and the party’s dedicated efforts. However, opinions vary, with some speculating that the competition might have been more intense if more citizens had participated in the voting process.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) also garnered commendable support, securing 2,604 votes. DNT received 1,372 votes from Phuentshogling and 1,232 votes from Bongo Chapchha.

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), securing the third position, managed 2,200 votes—1,321 from Bongo Chapchha and 879 from Phuentshogling.

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) followed closely, obtaining 919 votes from Bongo Chapchha and 592 votes from Phuentshogling.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) secured a total of 681 votes from Bongo Chapchha and 488 votes from Phuentshogling.

PDP shatters DPT strongholds

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 15:01

… sweeps Drametse-Ngatshang, Kengkhar-Weringla constituencies

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) achieved a decisive victory in all three constituencies of Mongar dzongkhag, breaking Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) stronghold in Drametse-Ngatshang and Kengkhar-Weringla.

In the primary round conducted yesterday, PDP secured 9,394 votes, with 4,956 on electoral voting machines (EVM) and 4,438 from postal ballots (PB). Despite historically being strongholds for DPT since 2008, DPT came second in both constituencies, garnering 4,573 votes including 2,556 postal ballots.

In the Drametse-Ngatshang constituency, PDP received 3,638 votes, while DPT trailed with 2,497 votes. The newcomer, Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) secured 2,478 and 698 votes, respectively while Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT), another new party, got 509 votes.

Kengkhar-Weringla constituency saw PDP winning with 2,726 votes, followed by DPT with 2,076 votes. BTP secured 1,547 votes, DNT received 736 votes and another new party. DTT secured 711 votes.

Like in 2013 and 2018, DPT did not fare well in Mongar constituency, receiving the second-lowest votes at 950, with DTT following at 761. PDP secured the highest votes, 3,060, while BTP and DNT received 1,980 and 1,081 votes, respectively. Mongar constituency has 11,625 eligible voters including 6,091 female voters.

The three constituencies recorded 25,418 votes out of 38,615 eligible voters in 72 polling stations, with 11,769 votes cast through postal ballots. In 2018, there were 76 polling stations.

A DPT representative said, “It is the weariness of voters supporting DPT for the last 15 years and the desire for change, which they rightfully deserved for the betterment of the nation. We gracefully accept the defeat and extend our gratitude to the people of Bhutan for their unwavering support over the past 15 years.”

Contributed by 

Rinzin Wangchuk,

former editor of Kuensel

PDP sweeps Sarpang and Zhemgang

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 15:00

Lhakpa Quendren

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secured a landslide victory in Sarpang and Zhemgang constituencies during the primary round of the fourth parliamentary election yesterday.

In the Shompangkha constituency of Sarpang, the PDP secured a landslide victory with 3,758 votes, including 1,107 postal votes, followed by the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) with 1,586 votes, including 383 postal votes.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) secured the third place with 1,065 votes, followed by Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) with 959 votes, and Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) received 700 votes.

PDP achieved a landslide victory in the Gelephu constituency, securing 3,582 votes through electronic voting machines (EVM) and 2,045 through postal ballots. DPT secured 2,399 votes, BTP won 2,261 votes, and DTT achieved 782 votes.

The situation is no different for both constituencies in Zhemgang. In the Bardo-Trong constituency, PDP garnered 3,632 votes, including 1,999 postal votes, while DPT followed with 1,786 votes, including 786 postal votes.

BTP secured 859 votes to secure the third position, followed by DTT with 679 votes and DNT with 623 votes.

For the first time, PDP secured victory in the Panbang constituency with 2,628 votes, closely trailed by DPT with 2,104 votes. DPT garnered 1,311 votes through the EVMs and 1,317 postal votes, while DPT secured 1,168 EVM votes and 936 postal votes.

Panbang constituency has 8,746 registered voters, of which 4,292 are female. The voter turnout is 5,991, including 2,822 postal votes.

DPT’s President, Dorji Wangdi, and DTT’s Panbang candidate, Karma Dema, are close relatives, leading many voters to believe that the votes could be divided among their supporters.

A voter in Panbang said constituents have realized that being under the opposition party has brought no advantages. “For three consecutive elections, we have supported the DPT. As a party in the Opposition, development is scarce in the constituencies.”

Another said that DPT should gracefully accept their first-time loss in the elections. “Having been provided ample time to serve in both ruling and opposition parties, they should take this outcome positively.”

Punakha remains loyal to PDP

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 15:00

Chencho Dema

Yesterday,  People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) emerged victorious in the Lingmukha-Toedwang and Kabisa-Talo constituencies in Punakha, securing their spots in the upcoming general round.

The voters in both constituencies demonstrated unwavering support for the PDP, leading to a resounding victory in Kabji-Talo seat with an impressive 3,674 votes.

The BTP claimed the second position with 1,471 votes, followed by Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) in third with 1,284 votes.

In the Lingmukha-Toedwang constituency, PDP secured the top spot with 1,888 votes, followed by Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa with 1,548 votes and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa with 1,019 votes.

The BTP garnered 632 votes, while Druk Phuensum Tshogpa received 261 votes.

Lingmukha-Toedwang constituency boasted 7,807 registered voters, comprising 3,815 males and 3,992 females. The constituency had 1,735 in-country conventional postal voters and 29 overseas postal ballots, distributed across 10 polling stations.

Meanwhile, Kabji-Talo constituency recorded a total of 11,289 registered voters, with 5,271 males and 6,018 females.

The constituency featured 2,350 in-country postal voters, with 1,191 males and 1,159 females. Additionally, 70 overseas postal voters participated, and the election took place across 17 polling stations.

Both constituencies accommodated 36 persons with disabilities (PWDs), underlining the commitment to inclusive participation.

Despite the logistical challenges, voters exhibited remarkable dedication. Gyetshe, a 51-year-old resident of Lungkha village, walked a considerable distance to cast his vote, expressing satisfaction in upholding this essential civic duty.

Choden and her sisters, traversing over three hours on foot to vote at the Mendhagang Gewog Centre, exemplified the deep-rooted loyalty prevalent among voters. Choden emphasised her unwavering allegiance to a specific party, a sentiment echoed by many in these elections.

Kencho Lham, 46, defied the scorching sun and lengthy queues, choosing to sit on the ground with her sisters as a testament to their commitment to the democratic process.

Looking ahead, Namgay Wangchuk of the PDP and  Gyambo Sithey (PhD) of the BTP will vie for victory in the general round from the Lingmukha-Toedwang constituency.

In the Kabji-Talo constituency, Namgyal Dorji of the PDP and Tshering Dorji of the BTP will engage in a competitive faceoff.

BTP clinches victory in Khamaed-Lunana, DNT prevails in Khatoed-Laya

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:59

Chencho Dema

In a closely contested battle in the Khamaed-Lunana constituency in Gasa, Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) emerged victorious, securing a total of 275 votes from both electronic voting machines and postal ballots.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) closely followed with 271 votes, while Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) secured the third position with 154 votes.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) secured 95 and 42 votes, respectively.

The Khamaed-Lunana constituency comprised 1,175 registered voters, 536 males and 639 females. Among them, 165 were registered in-country postal ballots.

Seven polling stations facilitated the electoral process, with four located in Lunana Gewog and three in Khamaed Gewog.

In the Khatoed-Laya constituency, DNT secured a victory with 322 votes, followed by PDP in second place with 218 votes.

DTT and DPT secured 128 and 123 votes, respectively.

The Khatoed-Laya constituency boasted 1,125 registered voters, 554 males and 571 females.

PDP triumphs in Paro

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:58

Jigmi Wangdi

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged triumphant, securing a resounding victory over the other four participating parties in Paro yesterday.

The electoral landscape witnessed PDP’s dominance in key constituencies, particularly in Dokar-Shaba, where they clinched the lead with an impressive tally of 3,903 votes. This mandate included 772 postal votes and 3,131 votes from the electronic voting machine (EVM).

Similarly, the Lamgong-Wangchag constituency witnessed a PDP triumph, garnering a majority vote of 3,491. Within this count, 656 postal votes and 2,835 EVM votes contributed to the party’s success.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa emerged as the second-highest vote accumulator after PDP, securing 2,654 votes in Dokar-Shaba and 1,709 votes in Lamgong-Wangchag.

Comparing these results to the 2018 National Elections, PDP’s growth is evident. In the Dokar-Shaba constituency, PDP’s vote count surged from 2,389 in 2018 to an impressive 3,903 in 2024. Similarly, in Lamgong-Wangchag, the party’s support rose from 2,081 to 3,491 votes over the same period.

Postal ballots played a crucial role in these elections, with Dokar-Shaba accepting a total of 1,399 postal ballots and Lamgong-Wangchag receiving 1,467.

Paro boasts a significant voting population, with 21,313 eligible voters. Among them, 11,188 are female voters, reflecting a healthy participation of women in the democratic process.

PDP’s decisive victory underscores a shifting electoral dynamic in Paro, shaping the region’s political trajectory. The party’s success, particularly in key constituencies, not only solidifies its standing but also reflects the evolving preferences of the electorate in this vibrant democratic process.

PDP penetrates DPT strong hold

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:57

Tashi Phuntsho

For the past three elections, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) reigned in all three constituencies of Pemagatshel.

However, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) penetrated the DPT’s strong hold and won Nanong-Shumar constituency with 1,559 votes at primary round of the National Assembly election yesterday. DPT secured 1,386 votes and came third.

As per the provisional results, PDP secured 748 votes on electronic voting machine (EVM) and DPT managed 542 votes. Bhutan Tendrel Party got 750 EMV votes.

While DPT got 844 postal ballot (PB) compared to PDP’s 811, BTP representative Yeshi Jamtsho secured 1,536 votes came second.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa representative by Sonam Dhendup secured 1,129 votes and Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa represented by Wangchuk secured 790 votes.

DPT won Nganglam constituency won with 2,494 votes while PDP stood second with 1,158 votes. BTP secured 923 votes, followed by DNT with 572 and DTT scored 208 votes.

In Khar-Yurung constituency, DPT won with 2,012 votes while BPT came second securing 1,687 votes and PDP stood third with 1,412 votes. Meanwhile, DTT scored 669 votes and DNT secured 657 votes.

Of the 52 polling stations in the dzongkhag, Khar-Yurung constituency has maximum polling station with 20, and 17 polling station in Nanong-Shumar constituency, while Nganglam has 15 polling stations.

Landslide win for PDP in Bumthang and Trongsa

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:57

Sherab Lhamo

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) asserted its dominance in Bumthang and Trongsa, securing a total of 5,032 votes from these dzongkhags.

In Bumthang, PDP secured 2,288 votes from the Chhoekhor-Tang and Chhumig-Ura constituencies; the party garnered 1,181 votes from Chhoekhor-Tang and 1,107 votes from Chhumig-Ura. Notably, 764 votes were obtained through postal ballots in both constituencies.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) secured a total of 1,063 votes from Chhoekhor-Tang and in Chhumig-Ura, the party secured 391 votes, with 468 obtained through postal ballots.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa in Chhumig-Ura secured 496 votes, while in Chhoekhor-Tang, the party garnered 392 votes, with 349 obtained through postal ballots.

People at Wangduechholing Lower Secondary School polling station in Bumthang

Bumthang, with 11,137 registered voters, witnessed a voter turnout of 7,387, with 5,221 casting their votes through electronic voting machines (EVM) by physically visiting the polling stations.

Meanwhile, in Trongsa, the people overwhelmingly chose PDP. Out of 11,266 registered voters, 2,744 voted for PDP, with a total turnout of 7,515. Additionally, 988 people exercised their voting rights through postal ballots.

PDP secured 1,049 votes from Nubi-Tangsibji and 1,695 votes from Draagteng-Langthil in Trongsa.

Bhutan Tendrel Party secured 869 votes from Draagteng-Langthil and 418 votes from Nubi-Tangsibji, totaling 1,287 votes, with 306 votes secured through postal ballots.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa secured 1,355 votes, comprising 618 votes from Nubi-Tangsibji and 737 from Draagteng-Langthil.

Comparatively, in the 2018 primary election, Bumthang recorded a turnout of 7,562, while Trongsa had a turnout of 7,149. These election results underscore the active participation of the electorate in shaping the democratic process in these dzongkhags.

PDP takes Drukjeygang-Tseza and Lhamoizingkha-Tashiding

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:55

Dechen Dolkar

In a significant electoral development, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secured victories in both the Drukjeygang-Tseza and Lhamoizingkha-Tashiding constituencies in Dagana, as per the provisional results announced by the commission yesterday.

PDP’s total vote count reached an impressive 5,091, with 6,373 secured through Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). Notably, PDP dominated in EVM votes, securing the highest tally.

In the Drukjeygang-Tseza constituency, the party secured 1,789 postal ballots and 2,726 through EVM. In Lhamoizingkha, PDP obtained 1,444 votes through postal ballots and 3,647 through EVM.

The Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) secured 2,506 votes, with 1,727 from EVM. In the Drukjeygang-Tseza constituency, BTP obtained 991 votes through EVM and 457 through postal ballots. In Lhamoizingkha, the party secured 736 votes through EVM and 322 through postal ballots.

In Lhamoizingkha, a close contest unfolded between Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), with a mere two-vote difference. DTT secured 628 total votes, while DNT secured 626 votes. Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) obtained 610 votes.

Similarly, in Drukjeygang-Tseza, DTT secured 1,159 total votes, DPT secured 1,095 votes, and DNT secured 1,075 total votes.

Drukjeygang-Tseza constituency boasts 14,574 registered voters, with 9,291 casting their votes. Meanwhile, Lhamoizingkha-Tashiding constituency has 13,892 registered voters, with 8,013 participating in the electoral process.

Dagana, with a total of 28,456 registered voters, witnessed a robust voter turnout, underscoring the significance of civic participation in shaping the democratic landscape.

PDP and BTP clinch victory in Lhuentse and Tsirang

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:55

Yangyel Lhaden

Both the constituencies of Lhuentse—Gangzur-Minjey and Maenbi-Tsaenkhar—saw the majority of votes going to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP).

Gangzur-Minjey voted for change. For the first time, the constituency would have a member of parliament (MP) from PDP or BTP.

The constituency voted twice for the same MP from Druk Phunsum Tshogpa (DPT) in the first and second governments. During the third government, their MP was from Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa.

There are 9,461 registered voters in Gangzur-Minjey, and 5,682 of them voted. From the total votes, 30.4 percent—1,731 votes—went to the PDP, and 24.1 percent—1,375 votes—went to the BTP.

A total of 2,770 registered voters voted through postal ballot and 2,994 through electronic voting machine (EVM). However, 82 postal ballots were rejected.

In Maenbi-Tsaenkhar, PDP got more than 1,000 votes more than BTP. PDP secured 2,486 votes, while BTP secured 1,352 votes.

The constituency has 9,277 voters, out of which 5,681 voted. A total of 2,833 individuals voted from EVM and 2,944 voted through postal ballots, out of which 96 were rejected.

In Tsirang, the PDP secured a landslide victory, obtaining over 4,000 votes in both constituencies.

In Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang, PDP got 4,134 votes, while BTP secured 1,772 votes. Of the total 8,264 votes cast, half went to PDP. In Sergithang-Tsirangtoed, PDP secured 4,206 votes, and BTP received 1,023 votes. Of the total 8,363 votes cast, half were in favour of PDP.

There are 13,880 registered voters In Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang; 5,618 voted through EVM and 2,702 through postal ballots. However, 56 postal ballots were rejected.

Sergithang-Tsirangtoed has 13,157 registered voters; 2,546 voted through postal ballots and 5,817 through EVM. Forty-four postal ballots were rejected.

PDP dominates in Wangdue

Fri, 12/01/2023 - 14:54

Chencho Dema

In yesterday’s primary round of election, Wangdue declared the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as its top choice to advance to the general round, triumphing over four other participating parties.

Wangdue consists of two constituencies, Nyisho-Saephu and Athang-Thedtsho, where PDP exhibited a robust performance in both postal and electronic voting methods.

In Nyisho-Saephu constituency, PDP secured a total of 4,038 votes, comprising 3,101 electronic voting machine (EVM) votes and 937 postal ballots. Similarly, in Athang-Thedtsho, PDP garnered 3,328 votes, with 1,256 postal votes and 2,071 EVM votes.

Breaking down the results further, in the Nyisho-Saephu constituency, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa secured the second position with 1,383 votes, followed by Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa with 1,179, Bhutan Tendrel Party with 1,141, and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa with 556 votes.

In Athang-Thedtsho, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa claimed the second position with 1,565 votes, followed by Bhutan Tendrel Party with 990 votes, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa with 922 votes, and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa with 815 votes.

Athang-Thedtsho, with 24 polling stations, hosted 11,215 registered voters, excluding 71 persons with disabilities (PWDs). The constituency recorded 2,414 in-country conventional postal ballots and 63 overseas postal ballots.

Nyisho-Saephu constituency featured 21 polling stations, accommodating 11,425 registered voters, including 71 PWDs. The constituency recorded 2,122 in-country conventional postal ballots and 93 overseas postal ballots.

A voter at the Bajothang polling station expressed unwavering loyalty to a party since 2008, emphasising the importance of exercising the privilege to vote, even in uncertain times.

PDP slapped Nu 75,000 for violating election rules

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:35

DNT’s Nubi -Tangsibji candidate fined Nu 15,000

Dechen Dolkar 

After almost a day-long hearing and discussions yesterday, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) decided to impose a fine of Nu  75,000 on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for violating electoral laws. 

The general secretaries of the four political parties—Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Bhutan Tendrel Party, and the Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa—appealed to the ECB concerning a video posted by the PDP President on the last day of the campaign from Tashigang on the party’s social media page. They demanded the PDP to be disqualified from contesting the National Assembly election today.

The video clip of the PDP president that went viral claimed the party of Royal patronage, specifically claiming that  His Majesty said that only PDP could serve the nation well. The general secretaries of the four political parties urged the ECB to disqualify the PDP, citing disharmony in society and a perceived lack of a free and fair election process.

In accordance with the rules on election conduct of Bhutan 2022, section 10.1 stipulates that if, in the opinion of the Commission, any political party, permitted participant, or candidate infringes any provision of these rules, the Commission may issue a warning or impose a fine of the minimum wage for 600 days on a political party, or both.

In what was not shared before, the ECB also announced that the general secretary of PDP filed a complaint against Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) Nubi-Tangsibji representative for an alleged violation of electoral laws. A formal warning accompanied by a fine of Nu 15,000 was imposed in response to a statement made by the party’s representative in a social media group.

The fine was imposed under section, which allows the Commission to issue a warning or impose a fine of the minimum wage for 120 days on any person or entity, other than the political party or candidate or both.

The Commission stated that it conducted a comprehensive review of the complaints, scrutinising all details to ensure a free, fair, and transparent electoral process. The Commission rendered its decision yesterday, dismissing two complaints and imposing fines on two political parties after conducting hearings on the complaints from the political parties against members of rival parties.

However, the allegation of electoral corruption made by party representatives of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa, and PDP against the Bhutan Tendrel Party President in the Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong Demkhong was dismissed as it did not involve any violation of electoral laws. 

The details of the complaints were not shared.

The Commission also dismissed the allegation of a violation of electoral laws made by Bhutan Tendrel Party’s Gewog Coordinator against PDP’s Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate due to insufficient evidence provided by the complainant to substantiate the allegation. 

The Commission did not reveal the details of the allegations.

More than 2,000 PWDS cast their vote

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:34

Dechen Dolkar

During the three-day special voting operation for the fourth National Assembly Elections, held from November 23 to 25, 2,046 registered individuals with disabilities (PWDs) exercised their right to vote.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) facilitated this early voting service to accommodate PWDs and those facing challenges in traveling to the polling stations on the actual polling day.

This service was extended to individuals dealing with chronic illnesses, bedridden conditions, elderly citizens, or those with immobility issues. Specifically, it targeted PWDs unable to physically go to the polling stations on the poll day.

Out of the total PWDs who cast their votes, 922 were male, and 1,124 were female. A total of 2,165 eligible individuals had registered for the special early voting service with the Election Commission of Bhutan.

However, more than 100 registered PWDs did not cast their votes. Election officials explained that some individuals had passed away after their registration, while others, who were admitted to the hospital during the registration process, were later discharged and unable to participate in the special early voting.

The election officials obtained the list of PWDs from the gewogs and associations. Despite their efforts to reach every registered PWD voter, some individuals could not be contacted.

Samtse reported the highest number of PWDs casting their votes, with 275, while Gasa had the lowest, with only five PWDs participating in the vote.

In total, 496,836 voters are eligible to vote in the fourth National Assembly elections, comprising 254,742 women and 242,094 men.

Of the total registered voters in the country, 125,949 have opted for postal voting.

Scarves, not tego or kira, clarifies PDP

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:34

Chencho Dema

Clarifying what is going around on social media, the People’s Democratic Party candidate from the Kabji-Talo constituency, Namgyal Dorji, says the accusation of his party giving tegos and kira pieces is not just unfounded, but patently absurd.

The candidate was forced to clarify the issue when an unidentified woman in a video footage that has gone viral on social media accused his party  of giving voters tego and kira pieces during the campaign in Thangzona, Punakha. The post went viral needing intervention to clarify.

The video clip, which was shot at the PDP’s November 8 launch ceremony in Punakha with media and Election Commission of Bhutan representatives in attendance, has been altered and doctored, said Namgyal Dorji.

The colorful bundles that were placed in front of the people during the president’s speech to the public were mistaken for tego and kira pieces intended to bribe voters.  At the Thangzona there were 600 coordinators from Kabji-Talo Gewog who had come to attend the meeting. 

“It is also evident from the timing that the video is being shared on social media with the intention of harming the party’s reputation with the pictures of the November 7 event surfacing just a few days prior to the poll day,” he said. 

Namgyal Dorji clarified that the scarves were brought to the Machey Lhakhang in the Punakha dzong to be blessed and conferred to the registered coordinators by the president in recognition of their support during the campaign launch ceremony.

Kuenga Tashi, general secretary of PDP said, “The PDP is deeply concerned about the recent viral video making baseless accusations against the party. The recent viral video is a clear attempt to defame the party. The footage has been doctored from our legitimate campaign event, in Punakha, attended by election officials and the media.” 

The party’s representative from Punakha has alerted the Election Commission of Bhutan about the deceitful tactic.

“We have requested authorities to investigate the case and identify the person who doctored the picture and spread lies about the Party. Furthermore, the PDP remains confident in the wisdom and intelligence of the Bhutanese people and is confident they will see through this attempt to manipulate public opinion,” he added.

Reform in Central Monastic Body centuries after Zhabdrung

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:33

Thinley Namgay

After over 400 years, the Central Monastic Body (CMB) has finally received explicit written guidelines delineating the responsibilities for five different Lopens and all monastic institutions under the CMB.

While fulfilling its duties since the era of Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the CMB has lacked a tangible written document to streamline its responsibilities for the benefit of the people and the Buddha Dharma.

To rectify this, the comprehensive guideline for the CMB, titled “Chakgoen Toenpai Yoednang”, was launched on November 28 in Thimphu. The launch took place in the presence of all five Lopens and heads of religious institutions nationwide. 

Thukten Jamtsho, Media and ICT Officer at the CMB, emphasised the timeliness and significance of this guideline, attributing it to the vision of the current 70th Je Khenpo, His Holiness Trulku Jigme Chhoeda.  

“This guideline is a testament to Je Khenpo’s desire for reform in the CMB, aligning with the 21st-century context and the ongoing major transformations in the country,” stated Thukten Jamtsho. 

He highlighted specific responsibilities outlined for five Lopens and five secretaries, noting that such initiatives would enhance citizen services, ensuring efficiency and timeliness while complementing the country’s ongoing transformations.

Over the years, the Je Khenpo has introduced several changes to the CMB, including the institution of the title Tsugla Lopen to facilitate inclusive studies for monks and nuns.  

Additionally, the Je Khenpo appointed five secretaries under five Lopens and modified the titles of Yangbi Lopen to Leytshog Lopen and Drabi Lopen to Tshogki Lopen, each with renewed responsibilities.  

Presently, approximately 17,000 monks and nuns are under the purview of the CMB.

Bhutan honoured for best sustainable tourism

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:32

Staff Reporter 

Bhutan was bestowed with the esteemed award—Best Sustainability Initiative—by a Destination at the 2023 Luxury Travel Gold List Awards Australia.

Sonam Tobgay, the Bhutanese Ambassador to Australia, accepted this accolade during the awards ceremony in Sydney yesterday.

The award applauds a destination that has implemented a consumer-facing sustainability initiative, allowing travelers to actively engage and contribute to the sustainable goals of the destination.

Bhutan’s Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) initiative, imposing USD 100 per night per visitor, is an integral component of Bhutan’s high-value, low-volume tourism strategy.

Proceeds from the SDF are directed towards various initiatives in Bhutan, funding conservation and sustainability projects, upgrading infrastructure, enhancing workforce skills, providing free education and healthcare to all Bhutanese, and more.

The recognition for Bhutan’s efforts comes from a panel of avant-garde leaders in luxury travel.

Sonam Tobgay, speaking on behalf of the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Canberra, highlighted that Bhutan’s approach to sustainable tourism exemplifies the possibility of a symbiotic relationship between travellers, local communities, and the environment.

“We believe sustainable initiatives foster deeper connections between travelers and the communities, local people, their culture, and nature. Operating under the banner of our nation’s brand ‘Bhutan Believe,’ we focus on delivering high-quality infrastructure and guest experiences while minimising our impact on the planet,” Sonam Tobgay said.

Dorji Dhradhul, the director general of the Department of Tourism Bhutan, emphasised that the SDF represents an investment in Bhutan’s cultural preservation, environmental protection, and enhancement of visitor experiences. It supports, he added, initiatives ranging from tree planting to reducing the carbon footprint, ensuring that Bhutan maintains its carbon-negative status.

“Bhutan’s tourism strategy of high value, low volume has not only promoted sustainable tourism practices but has also significantly contributed to the conservation of Bhutan’s rich biodiversity and cultural heritage,” he said.

With this award, Bhutan aims to remind the global tourism industry that sustainability and luxury are not mutually exclusive. Dorji Dhradhul underscored that conscious travel can establish profound connections with the world around us.

In a similar vein, the award-winning travel media brand, AFAR, has featured Bhutan in its annual “Where to Go” list, highlighting 25 exciting destinations to visit in 2024. The reduced tourism fee in Bhutan, it said, encourages visitors to explore new corners of the world’s first carbon-negative country.

Picture story

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:31

Thimphu Raven FC (yellow jersey) celebrated their third win in the ongoing BoB Bhutan Premier League defeating the Ugyen Academy FC 2-1 yesterday in Punakha. The defeat from Thimphu Raven FC marked Ugyen Academy’s second defeat of the season on home ground. The first half ended 1-0 for the visitor. The host equalised in the 76th minute. However, Raven’s Tshering Jamtsho made it 2-1 in the dying minutes of the game.  Segun Peter of Thimphu Raven FC was declared the man of the match. BFF Academy FC will face Tensung FC at the Changlimithang Stadium at 6pm today. 

Picture story

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 11:30

Majid Rashed, representing the National Paralympic Committee of the United Arab Emirates was re-elected as the President of the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) for the year 2023-2027. He was elected  during the APC Conference and General Assembly held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from November 24 to 28.