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Bhutan elects its first ever National Council

world Updated: Jan 01, 2008 22:37 IST
PTI
Bhutan

Bhutan on Tuesday received its New Year gift — 15 elected representatives to its National Council or upper house following the first parliamentary elections as the country is nearing its aim of embracing democracy.

Chief Election Commissioner Kunzang Wangdi termed the election as historic and a huge success.

"We are pleased to say that the NC elections were a success. We are confident that our switchover to a democratic set up will be smooth and according to our plans," Wangdi said. He said the turnout on Monday's poll was satisfactory though there were some loopholes. International observers, including from India and the UN, monitored the polls.

"Bhutanese people are still not fully aware of the small details of parliamentary elections. But they are soon learning. The response this time was much more than the previous rounds of mock elections (held in April and May last year)," he said.

Monday's winners are Tshewang Jurmey (from Bumthang), Tshewang Lhamo (Chhukha), Sonam Dorji (Dagana), Naichu (Mongar), Ugyen Tshering (Paro), Jigme Rinzin (Pemagatshel), Namgay Penjore (Punakha), Jigme Wangchuk (Samdrup Jongkhar), M K Rai (Samtse), Karma Donnen Wangdi (Sarpang), Sonam Kinga (Tr ashigang), Jagar Dorji (Trongsa), Justin Gurung (Tshirang), Sonam Yangchen (Wangduephodrang) and Pema Lhamo (Zhemgang).

Elections were not held in five constituencies like Haa, Gasa, Thimphu, Lhuentse and Trashiyangtse as they had only single candidates or none. Polling in these constituencies will be held on January 29.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel would nominate five additional members to the council. Bhutan's transition to democracy began in 2001 when former king Jigme Singye Wangchuk handed over the powers of daily governance to a council of ministers.