Liberal PDP wins parliamentary elections in Bhutan: Report

KATHMANDU: A liberal political party led by a former prime minister was set to form a new government in Bhutan after winning its fourth free vote since democratic elections began 15 years ago, provisional results by the country’s election body showed on Wednesday.
Nestled between China and India, Bhutan is known for its pioneering of a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, an alternative economic gauge that takes into account factors normally ignored by gross domestic product measures, such as recreation and emotional well-being.
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of fewer than 800,000 people is struggling to revive its aid-and-tourism dependent economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 30 seats in Tuesday’s elections for the 47-member parliament, or National Assembly, with the remaining seats going to the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), an early tally by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB} showed.
Final results are expected on Wednesday.
The BTP, formed in 2022 by a former bureaucrat, will be the main opposition in the parliament, analysts say.
The PDP was formed in 2007 by Tshering Tobgay, 58, who was prime minister from 2013 to 2018. Tobgay is set to become the new prime minister, for a second five-year term.
“Heartiest congratulations to my friend @tsheringtobgay and the People’s Democratic Party for winning the parliamentary elections in Bhutan,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on X late on Tuesday. “Look forward to working together again to further strengthen our unique ties of friendship and cooperation.”
During campaigning, Tobgay has vowed to promote the investment needed to boost the country’s $3 billion economy and address the unemployment that is driving an increasing number of young Bhutanese abroad, mainly to Australia, in search of better opportunities.
Majority-Buddhist Bhutan, roughly the size of Switzerland, has deep economic and trade relations with its southern neighbour, India, which is also its biggest donor.
It has no formal diplomatic relations China but is in talks with Beijing to resolve border disputes – negotiations closely watched by India, which has its own border dispute with China.
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