Bhutan ex-PM wins elections overshadowed by economic strife

THIMPHU: The People’s Democratic Party won the most seats in Bhutan‘s parliamentary elections on Tuesday and will form the new government as residents hope politicians make good on promises to fix the economic crisis in the Himalayan nation.
Latest figures from the Bhutan Broadcasting Service, a national broadcaster, showed the PDP had won 30 of the 47 National Assembly seats to return to power, and the Bhutan Tendrel Party had secured 17.It was the country’s fourth general elections since its transformation from a traditional monarchy to a parliamentary form of government in 2008. The Election Commission of Bhutan will make its final declaration on Wednesday.
Candidates on Tuesday’s ballot represented only the PDP of former PM Tshering Tobgay and the BTP led by former civil servant Pema Chewang. A primary round of voting in Nov. eliminated three other parties, including the ruling center-left Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa party.
The severe economic crisis played a major role in campaigning. According to the World Bank, Bhutan’s economy grew at a rate of 1.7% over the past five years. With unemployment a chronic problem, an exodus of young people in search of higher education and jobs abroad is undermining the country’s economic potential.
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