The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) on Tuesday launched a book on the first ever study of local government elections in Bhutan. It was co-launched by the Danish ambassador to Bhutan Freddy Svane and the chief election commissioner of Bhutan Dasho Kunzang Wangdi.
The whole process of research as well as studies conducted for the book including its publication was sponsored by the Representation office of Denmark and endorsed by the ECB. The book is authored by Lekey Dorji &Associates (LDA).
According to LDA the entire study as well as research started way back in 2010 through careful observation of the Local Government (LG) elections that took place last year.
Lekey Dorji said his firm was assisted by one Achyut Bhandari’s firm. The book contains an overview of the elections of local governance, including the mandates and responsibilities of LGs. Furthermore the book also contains a field study and documentation of voter registration, process of identification of candidates, the functional literacy and the possession of skills test and the selection of candidates as well.
The book is a documentation of the actual process of the first elections to LGs in Bhutan. It also includes delimitation information and the detailed delimitation maps of 1,044 chiwogs and 205 gewogs,and also voter education; issues and problems that emerged during the elections as well as the perception and thoughts of the voters and candidates contesting in the elections.
During the event the author also talked about women’s participations in local government elections.
He said that the book also suggested improving women’s participation in future LG elections referring to the 2011/2012 LG elections which saw women’s participation nearly doubled.
Besides this the launch event also talked about women participation in LG elections in the past (2011), where only one female candidate was able to secure the post or win, but the maximum of the women candidates suffered huge disappointment in losing the elections against their male counterparts.
He said that democracy is not only for men but it’s also for women too, and nurturing and securing the democratic culture in the country is a huge achievement for Bhutan.
In his speech the ambassador of Denmark said that democracy in Bhutan is in full blossom. He addressed Bhutan as a role model for democratic institution across the entire region. “To nurture or secure the modern democracy is not that easy” he said.
The chief election commissioner said that the current book is a sequel to the earlier book Drukyul Decides. Lekey Dorji said that the two books are variably different from each other as the present one is fully based on the study on local government elections in future while ‘Drukyul Decides’ is a documentation of Bhutan’s first democratic or General election.
He said that these books helps Bhutan record and present the full account of the elections. He described the books as a testimony of the performance of the ECB and all others involved in the elections.
Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, “This Danish assistance in elections and recording of historic moment adds additional dimension to the existing friendship between Bhutan and Denmark”.
The book titled ‘DEMOCRACY UP-CLOSE’ will be distributed without any charges by the representation office of Denmark to all libraries, colleges and institutions of higher learning and also to the higher secondary and middle secondary schools across Bhutan.