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2008 Bhutanese National Assembly election

  (Redirected from Bhutanese general election, 2008)

National Assembly elections were held in Bhutan for the first time on 24 March 2008.[1] Two parties were registered by the Election Commission of Bhutan to contest the election: the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT, for Druk Phuensum Tshogpa), which was formed by the merger of the previously established Bhutan People's United Party and All People's Party[2] and is led by Jigme Y. Thinley, and the People's Democratic Party (PDP). The third political party, the Bhutan National Party (BNP),[3] had its application for the registration canceled.

2008 Bhutanese general election

24 March 2008 2013 →

All 47 seats to the National Assembly
24 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Jigme Thinley (cropped).jpg Sangay Ngedup 2005.jpg
Leader Jigme Thinley Sangay Ngedup
Leader's seat Nanong-Shumar Kabji-Talo
Seats won 45 2
Popular vote 169,490 83,322
Percentage 67.04% 32.96%

Results of the Bhutanese Elections.

Prime Minister before election

Kinzang Dorji

Prime Minister-designate

Jigme Thinley


Electoral systemEdit

The elections for the 47 seats of the National Assembly were planned to be held in two rounds: In the first round, voters would have voted for a party. The two parties with the largest share of the national vote would then have been able to field candidates in the 47 constituencies.[4] However, as only two parties successfully registered for the election, the election was held in one round.[1]


Mock electionsEdit

On 21 April 2007, a mock election was held to prepare the population of Bhutan for the imminent change to democracy. These elections were held in all 47 National Assembly constituencies and at 869 polling stations with around 1,000 voters at each one of them.[5] The parties "contesting" the election were the Druk Blue Party, the Druk Green Party, the Druk Red Party and the Druk Yellow Party (with Druk being dzongkha for "thunder dragon"), each of them representing certain values as their "party manifesto": yellow for traditional values, red for industrial development, blue for fairness and accountability, and green for the environment. The two parties winning the most votes were to proceed to a run-off election scheduled for 28 May.[6] Election observers were present from the United Nations and from India.[7]

The results of the first round saw the Druk Yellow Party receive a plurality of the vote.[8]

Party Votes %
Druk Yellow Party 55,263 44.30
Druk Red Party 25,423 20.38
Druk Blue Party 25,295 20.28
Druk Green Party 18,766 15.04
Total 124,747 100
Registered voters/turnout 283,506 44.00

The two leading parties, Druk Yellow Party and Druk Red Party, put up randomly chosen high school students as candidates in the 47 constituencies in the second round on 28 May 2007. The Druk Yellow Party swept the vote and won 46 of the 47 constituencies. Turnout in the second round was 66%.[9]

283,506 people had registered to vote, though it is considered likely that a total of 400,000 would have been eligible to register as voters.[10]


The election procedure began with the submission of the letters of intent, lists of candidates, copies of election manifestos and audited financial statements by the two political parties contesting the elections to the election commission followed by the release of the party manifestos by them on 22 January 2008.[11]

From 31 January to 7 February 2008 both political parties submitted the nomination papers for their candidates for the 47 constituencies. The candidates, whose nominations were accepted, started campaigning in their constituencies from 7 February. The election campaign ended at 9:00 on 22 March. The last date for receiving the postal ballots was 18 February. The elections were held on 24 March from 09:00 to 17:00 followed by the counting of ballots on the same day. The results were declared on 25 March.[11]

All eligible voters were allowed to register with the election commission until 20 February 2008 for the inclusion of their names in the voters list which was updated to include those eligible voters who were eighteen years old on or before 1 January 2008. The final electoral roll was published on 5 March 2008.[11]


e • d Summary of the 24 March 2008 Bhutanese National Assembly election results[12]
Party Leader Votes Seats
Count Share Count Share
DPT Jigme Thinley 169,490 67.04% 45 95.74%
PDP Sangay Ngedup 83,322 32.96% 2 4.26%
Total 252,812 100% 47 100%
Turnout: 79.4%

Vote share

  DPT (67.04%)
  PDP (32.96%)

Seat share

  DPT (95.74%)
  PDP (4.26%)

Turnout reached nearly 80% by the time the polls closed, and the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party reportedly won 44 seats, with the People's Democratic Party winning only three seats (Phuentsholing in Chhukha, Goenkhatoe-Laya in Gasa and Sombeykha in Haa). The PDP's leader, Sangay Ngedup, who was also the ruling king's uncle, lost his own constituency by 380 votes. Reportedly, there were few differences between the platforms of the two parties, which might explain the unexpectedly uneven results; analysts were worried that the small representation of the opposition might have obstructed the functioning of the newly founded democratic system, but this does not to appear to have happened, as power peacefully changed hands after the People's Democratic Party won the 2013 National Assembly elections. Both parties had pledged to follow the king's guidelines of "pursuing Gross National Happiness", and both party leaders had previously served in governments.[13]

Another attempt to explain the BPPP's large-scale victory is that it is apparently the more royalist of the two parties.[14]

An explanation popularly given by Bhutanese in the days leading up to the election for the lack of support for the People's Democratic Party was that it would encourage corruption and be contrary to the King's request for the Bhutanese to form a popular government to elect leadership having (as was popularly believed about the PDP) strong personal ties to both the King and Bhutanese business.

Due to a mistake in tallying the votes in Phuntsholing,[15] it turned out that actually, the BPPP had won 45 seats and the PDP only 2.[16]

The two PDP members who were elected have refused to take up their seats and resigned their mandates, claiming that the civil servants informally campaigned for the DPT and thus greatly influenced the result.[17][18]

The DPT officially approved its leader as candidate for PM on 5 April 2008.[19] He took office on 9 April.[20]


  1. ^ a b Bhaumik, Subir (17 January 2008). "Main Bhutan election date is set". BBC News. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  2. ^ "Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, the new party in town". Bhutan Portal. 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Bhutan gets third political party". The Hindu. 6 May 2007. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Caretaker prime minister appointed in Bhutan". Hindustan Times. Indo-Asian News Service. 3 August 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  5. ^ Bhutan set for mock elections on April 21 Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Hindustan Times, 20 April 2007
  6. ^ Bhutan holds fake national poll BBC News, 21 April 2007
  7. ^ Bhutan's election dummy run The Australian, 21 April 2007
  8. ^ Bhutan votes for tradition and monarchy in mock poll The Star, 22 April 2007
  9. ^ Bhutan mock poll votes for tradition The Star, 30 May 2007
  10. ^ Encouraging turnout in Bhutan's historic mock polls India eNews, 28 May 2007
  11. ^ a b c "March is on to Assembly Elections". Kuensel Newspaper. 19 January 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  12. ^ "Final Report on the National Assembly Elections – 24 March 2008". Bhutan: EU Election Observation Mission. 21 May 2008. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  13. ^ Sengupta, Somni (5 March 2008). "Heavy Turnout in First Bhutan Election". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 March 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  14. ^ Erdrutschsieg der Royalisten in Bhutan (International, NZZ Online) (German)
  15. ^ "Results of the Phuentsholing Constituency of National Assembly Election 2008 under Chukha Dzongkhag" (PDF). PDF. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  16. ^ Majumdar, Bappa (27 March 2008). "CORRECTED: Bhutan corrects poll results, opposition shrinks". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  17. ^ Denyer, Simon (28 March 2008). "Bhutan loses opposition as MPs cry foul over poll". Reuters India. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  18. ^ "PDP asks ECB to investigate "very strange developments" before elections". Kuensel Newspaper. 29 March 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  19. ^ "DPT endorses Jigmi Y Thinley as Prime Minister". Kuensel Newspaper. 5 April 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  20. ^ "Thinley takes over as Premier", The Hindu, 11 April 2008.

External linksEdit