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Bhutan votes in second national polls; 80% voter turnout

world Updated: Jul 13, 2013 22:53 IST
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Polling for Bhutan’s second national elections ended on Satruday with an 80% turnout of voters with the race between the country’s two major political parties, too close to call.

Bhutan’s chief election commissioner Kunzang Wangdi said according to the preliminary information the turnout of voters should be more than 80%.

“It was a peaceful election and counting has started immediately. We expect all results should be out after 9 pm,” he said.

The election will decide the fate of 94 candidates in 47 constituencies contested by two major parties, ruling Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Throughout the day, people of all ages wearing their best traditional dresses, queued up outside polling stations for hours to cast their votes. “I am excited to be part of my country’s democratic process by casting my vote,” said first-time voter and Thimphu college student Pema Dema.

India has provided logistical support, including gifting nearly 4,130 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to Bhutan and Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath is here to witness the democratic process in the Himalayan nation as an observer.

This is the second national election in Bhutan after it became a democracy in 2008. In the last election, opposition PDP won only two of the 47 seats up for grabs.

The DPT, with 45 legislators, ruled the country for five years with Jigmi Y Thinley as its head.

In the first stage of the polls on May 31, two parties, the Druk Nymrub Tshogpa (DNT) and Druck Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT), lost out leaving the DPT and PDP to contest the final stage of the polls on Saturday.