• Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:09 pm

Bhutan's ruling party defeated in first round of polls

  • Published at 04:40 pm September 16th, 2018
A Bhutanese couple look on their phone as they sit beside a statute of the Buddha Dordenma in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park in Thimphu on August 25, 2018 AFP

Corruption, rural poverty, youth unemployment and the prevalence of criminal gangs remain challenges for Bhutan's economy

Bhutan's prime minister conceded defeat on Sunday, after the ruling party was knocked out in the first round of the small Himalayan nation's third-ever election.

Harvard educated Tshering Tobgay was seeking a second term in the poll but fell short of two rival parties, who will contest a runoff on October 18.

Election officials said Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), which won Bhutan's first-ever election when the kingdom transitioned to democracy in 2008, attracted nearly 93,000 votes, narrowly beating Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT).

"I congratulate DNT and DPT and their candidates (on) their outstanding performance," Tobgay posted on Twitter.

Tobgay, a 52-year-old mountain-biking enthusiast, and his People's Democratic Party won power from opposition in 2013.

More than 291,000 people cast their vote in Saturday's poll for a 66% turnout of registered voters, an election official told AFP.

Bhutan has tried to shield itself from the downsides of modernization, striving for "Gross National Happiness" over over GDP growth, maintaining a carbon-negative economy and keeping tourist numbers down with a daily fee of $250 per visitor in high season.

The 800,000 inhabitants of Switzerland-sized Bhutan got television in 1999 and democracy arrived only in 2008 when its "dragon king" monarchy ceded absolute power.

Corruption, rural poverty, youth unemployment and the prevalence of criminal gangs remain challenges for Bhutan's economy.

During the last election campaign in 2013 India abruptly withdrew subsidies for kerosene and cooking gas imports, in what was seen as an attempt to coerce a change of government.

India is unhappy about China's growing influence in Bhutan.

Last year India and China became embroiled in a military standoff over the Doklam plateau high in the Himalayas claimed by both China and Bhutan.

New Delhi does not claim the territory but has a military presence in Bhutan.

It stepped in to prevent Chinese border guards from building a road there, prompting Beijing to accuse it of trespassing on Chinese soil.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail