Monarchy Loyalist Party Wins Bhutan Election

In Bhutan's landmark elections that ended a century of absolute monarchy, the party widely perceived as most loyal to the monarchy won by a landslide. Raymond Thibodeaux files this report for VOA from Thimphu, Bhutan's capital.

Most of the media and political pundits in this tiny Himalayan nation did not see much difference between the two parties vying to lead the nation into democracy, but the voters of Bhutan did.

"The DPT, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, winning 44 of 47 seats in the National Assembly, is declared the ruling party," said Bhutan Election Commissioner Kunzang Wangdi. "The People's Democratic Party, the PDP, having won three seats in the National Assembly, will be the opposition party."

And, with those words, Wangdi made it official. Candidates from the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, also known as the Bhutan Prosperity Party, won a lopsided victory in Bhutan's first-ever national election.

DPT spokesman Palden Tshering says no one expected such a landslide.

"What I can say is the people have decided," said Tshering. "They looked at the two parties and probably figured out that our party is a party that could possibly give them the government envisioned by His Majesty [Bhutan's current king], one that is stable, one that is strong and one that will lay the foundation for the next hundred years."

The electoral turnout was 79 percent of the country's 318,000 eligible voters.

DPT President Jigmi Thinley is expected to be the country's next prime minister, a post he has held twice before. But this time, he will lead the country as Bhutan's king ends a century of dynastic rule that has been largely peaceful.

In Monday's polls, voters elected 47 members of the lower house of parliament. Twenty members of the upper house were elected, earlier this year.

Tshering says unifying the country is a top priority. "To bridge the gap that has formed in our society today as a result of the elections, that would probably be the first task that we have, because we want the country to be unified," said Tshering. "We want the people to be happy. We would rather there not be any discord in our society today."

The electoral commission says the voting was peaceful and orderly, with only minor problems.

However, the election was not without its critics. Members of the ethnic Nepali community say they were barred from voting. More than 100,000 ethnic Nepalis, who are mainly Hindu, were forced out of Bhutan in the 1990's. Many of them are living as refugees in eastern Nepal and are seeking to be repatriated to Bhutan.


This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs