25th Jan 2016 to be poll day for local government elections for Thimphu, Gelephu and Phuntsholing thromdes

According to the section 197 of the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, the second local government election process for Thimphu, Gelephu and Phuntsholing thromde will be held between 25th December 2015 and 8th February 2016.

For this purpose the election commission has prepared everything ready from election schedule details concerning Demkhongs, selection procedure for nomination of candidates, electoral rolls, EVMs, polling stations, polling officials, management and security.

A Dzongkhag Thromde declared as such by decision of the parliament shall form the Demkhong for the elections.

The Dzongkhag Thromde Tshogde shall constitute of Thrompon and minimum of six or maximum of nine Thromde Tshogpas elected through direct election.

The posts of Thrompon, Tshogpa and thromde Thuemi will be up for voting.

A zomdu shall be called upon by the Dzongkhag Electoral Authority in every Tshogpa Demkhong for the purpose of selecting a candidate to contest in the election to the post of Thrompon and Thromde Thuemi.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Chogyal Dago Rinzin said, ‘The second local government election is an important event in the history of Bhutan, we are working towards another milestone of achieving a vibrant democracy’.

The reason for not conducting the Thromde election in Samdrupjongkhar Thromde is the non-completion of the tenure of the Thrompon.

The final electoral rolls for the elections shall be published and provided to the returning officers by 26th of December 2015 and the candidates will be given their copies on 3rd of January 2016.

Candidate shall have up to 22 days for campaigning and must stop at 8 am on 23rd of January, which is 48 hours before the start of poll.

Candidate for the Thromde Elections cannot exceed his or her election campaign expense beyond Nu. 50,000.

To conduct the local government election in these three Dzongkhag Thromdes, including the TA/DA the Election Commission of Bhutan has been allocated a total reserve fund of Nu 275 Million.

A common forum shall be conducted for the candidates whose nominations for the post of Thrompon, Thromde Tshogpa and Thromde Thuemi which have been duly accepted by the respective returning officer.

In order to avoid inconvenience for voters of attending multiple sessions, the returning officer in consultation with the Election Coordinator and security coordinator shall facilitate the gathering of the electorate at a convenient venue and time in the Demkhong to hear the candidates.

On 25th December, 2015 all the postal voters will have to commence application for the ballots and 3rd January, 2016 will be the last date for receipt of application of postal ballots by returning officer.

Furthermore 4th January, 2016 will be the last date to issue postal ballots by the returning officer and 25th Janaury is the last date to receive postal ballots.

Voter Photo Identity Card (VPIC) issued by the Election Commission of Bhutan shall be the valid document for identification of voters at the polling booths during the Thromde Elections but voters have to also carry their CID cards. The polling hours shall be from 8 am to 4 pm.

There are roughly 7,000 voters in Thimphu, 1,100 in Phuntsholing and 720 in Gelephu Thromde.

The Thromde Elections in the Dzongkhag Thromde with no candidate after the last date of filing of nomination of candidates notified will be henceforth postponed till further notice.

The Thromde Elections in a Dzongkhag Thromde with only one candidate after the last date of filing of nomination of candidates announced herein will be declared as ‘Uncontested Elections’.

As of now the Election Commission of Bhutan has registered 7 candidates for the Thimphu Thromde and 6 candidates each for Gelephu and Phuntsholing Thromde.

The Election Code of Conduct shall be in force from 25th of December 2015 until the completion of the Election period on 26th of January 2016.

The poll day shall be declared a holiday in the concerned Thromde only and all the employers are required by law to grant required number of days as election leave for any voter wishing to go to vote in person.

The Dzongdags shall be the Chief Election Coordinators and the incumbent Executives of Thimphu, Phuntsholing and Gelephu Thromdes and the Dungpas of Gelephu and Phuntsholing Dungkhags shall be the Deputy Chief Election Coordinators for the respective Dzongkhag Thromdes.

In addition to the returning, presiding and polling officers, the Election Commission will be appointing three National Observers and three Micro Observers for observing the elections in the respective Thromdes.

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