Bhutan vote knocks out prime minister’s party

December 02, 2023

THIMPU, Bhutan: Bhutan´s Election Commission announced on Friday the two top political parties to contest general elections next month, with both the ruling party of the previous government and its former opposition knocked out.

The People´s Democratic Party (PDP) -- led by Dasho Tshering Tobgay, prime minister from 2013-2018 -- took 42 percent, the Election Commission said a day after primary polls were held.

In this photograph taken on July 13, 2013, Bhutanese men wait in line to cast their votes at a polling station in Thimphu.—AFP File

The Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) came second with 19 percent, eliminating three other parties from the general election on January 9.

Voters travelled from across landlocked Bhutan, which lies squeezed between regional giants India and China and is similar in size to fellow mountain nation Switzerland, to cast their ballots on Thursday.

Bhutanese people voted for the first time in 2008 after political reforms were instituted soon after the start of the reign of the present king. He remains widely popular among the country´s nearly 800,000 people.