Indo-Bhutan Relations

Bhutan Voters

Bhutan Voters

In the elections that was held last July 2013, some people believes that the results were affected by the influence of India. The results in Bhutan indicates how people are unsatisfied with the performance of the government. The Opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) surprisingly came up as the winner for the elections. They beat the ruling party which was Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) getting 32 out of 47 seats. People’s Democratic Party was not expected to win because of the results of the primaries only getting 32.5 percent of the votes against DPT’s 44.5 percent.

One key factor that beat the ruling party in the elections was the involvement of the PDP leader Tshering Togbay. He has challenged the slogan of the ruling party which was the idea of Gross National Happiness. He made claims how the DPT has failed to deliver to its voters.

Bhutan Prime Minister

Bhutan Prime Minister

India also played a crucial role in trying to influence the voters of going against the ruling party. The Indian government suddenly withdrew its subsidy to kerosene and cooking gas given to Bhutan. The withdrawal of subsidy led to the price increase of the products. This in turn angered voters to its ruling party which ended up making the ruling party not get elected. Although people are unsure of the intention of India, the timing of the withdrawal of subsidy turned out to be a significant impact for the elections. After the withdrawal the support towards the ruling party fell from 67 percent to 44 percent which indicate the people being unsatisfied. The withdrawal of aid shows the falling of the Indo-Bhutanese relations. In the 1949 Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, both countries agreed that India would not take part in the internal affairs of Bhutan. However Bhutan has the freedom in their foreign and defense policies. There is a necessity for India to be careful with its actions to Bhutan which is a crucial ally for India.

Images by Jagran and BBS

Bhutan National Assembly Election

The national assembly is the lower house of Bhutan’s bicameral Parliament. All those in the national assembly are put in to position through the national assembly election. The national assembly also consists of the Gyalpo or the Dragon King, and also the National Council. The national assembly is regarded as the most powerful house in Bhutan.

On May 31 of last year, 2013, the National Assembly Election of Bhutan was held. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was the victor of the assembly, getting thirty two of the forty seven seats available.

Preparation and Campaign

During the National Assembly Election, there were four parties that participated, all seeking majority of the seats in the government. The ruling Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT), the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, and two new parties, Druk Nymrub Tshogpa and Druck Chirwang Tshogpa were the parties involved.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party tried to apply for position. However, they were disqualified by Bhutan’s Election Commission as they failed to field in a university-educated candidate in one of the major districts. The head of the party, Sonam Tobgay, stated that “Four parties appealing for the fifth party, who couldn’t qualify, is something unprecedented universally and internationally, something special and noble.”

The ECB is the Election Commission of Bhutan

The ECB is the Election Commission of Bhutan

Election and Results

Bhutan is a very mountainous area. Because of this, the electoral process itself was a challenge to officials. They needed to climb mountainous terrains just to set up polling centers that will be accessible to the people. It took them seven days to do so. The election made Tshering Tobgay as the new Prime Minister.

Another big news is that a new record was set for the number of women to be elected in the Bhutan Government which is at three. Dori Choden, one of the three is the first female minister of Bhutan. She comes from the PDP party.

With PDP getting majority of the seats, the media considered this an upset as the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party was expected to once again dominate the electoral race.

This is only the second election in Japan after it was turned into a democratic country

This is only the second election in Japan after it was turned into a democratic country

Images from The Hindu and the Bhutanese