ECB announces schedule for National Assembly elections

Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan,  Kunzang Wangdi Photo credit: Upasana Dahal
Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan, Kunzang Wangdi
Photo credit: Upasana Dahal

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) following a royal decree officially issued the schedule of the National Assembly (NA) elections at a press conference on 29 April.

The ECB’s Chief Election commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi shared the details of the event from party registration till the general elections schedule on 13 July.

Starting from 29 April, the political parties will begin their submission of letters of intent for their eligibility in the elections, and eligible postal voters will start submitting their applications to respective returning officers and the letters of intent will be scrutinized by the election commission on 6 May, which will also be the date when political parties can start campaigning.

During the conference the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) said that the campaign for the primary rounds will be party-based.

“We expect that parties and their supporters will talk about their manifestos, vision and mission and not bridges, roads, schools,” the CEC Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said.

He further stress that during this period, political parties should refrain from making specific promises.

However the election commission in collaboration with BBS would organize common forums for the political parties to address the voters. This would save time and energy for voters in not having to attend numerous gatherings that would otherwise be organized by individual candidates from five different parties. In effect, this will save time for the people who are called-for or intend-to attend different political party gatherings.

Though the parties can convene public meetings and door-to-door campaigns, the campaign schedules will have to be approved by the returning officers in respective dzongkhags.

The withdrawal of a party from the election is allowed on or before 8 May (before the final closure of party registration).

Further, the election commission (ECB) would create clinics in some selected public areas so that people can have access to seek help. And considering the inquisitiveness about the election by the students and people residing abroad, the election commission would also entertain long-distance enquiries.

In doing so, the Commission has incorporated the correct email addresses of returning officers.

“We had cases of providing wrong email addresses and people encountered problems,” said CEC Dasho Kunzang Wangdi.

The Parties securing highest and second highest number of votes cast during the primary rounds in the 20 dzongkhags would pass for general elections and the primary round of elections scheduled for May 31 would see two winning-political parties.

Following the scrutiny of candidates, the parties will commence their campaign for general elections starting from 12 June.

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