The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has released its ‘Strategy for the Conduct of Parliamentary Elections 2013 for National Council’.
The document highlights the legal provisions related to elections, use of social media, polling stations and conducting campaigns. It also has provisions on security and many other technicalities related to the National Council (NC) elections.
Under Election Officials, the Strategy for the Conduct of Parliamentary Elections 2013 for National Council have the following roles:
Media Arbitrator: will be a senior and a competent Officer from the public service who shall be appointed as the Media Arbitrator for the Parliamentary Elections 2013 by the Election Commission. Its Office shall be strengthened to ensure capacity to monitor as well as handle social media disputes besides the other media related responsibilities.
Chief Election Coordinators: The Dzongdags of the respective Dzongkhags shall serve as the Chief Election Coordinators responsible to ensure the participation of the electorate and coordination of different electoral stakeholders to conduct of free and fair elections and for carrying out the roles, responsibilities and duties in their respective areas as provided in the Electoral Laws and elaborated in the Appointment Orders.
National Observers and Micro-Observers: The ECB shall depute one senior and reliable officer selected from the public services as the National Observer for every National Council Demkhong, i.e. in each of the 20 Dzongkhags. The National Observers will be accountable to observe and report on the standard election procedures and Election Code of Conduct being followed and abided by all responsible or involved in the electoral process.
Micro-Observers shall be appointed by the ECB where necessary to assist a National Observer. The Observers shall be responsible to exercise the authority, roles and responsibilities of a National Observer fully as provided in the Electoral Laws, rules, regulations and, in particular, the Guidelines for National and International Observers and the Appointment Orders. In particular the general public shall be notified that Observers are authorized to photograph, videograph or otherwise record all and any election event which may be used as legal evidence in the election dispute settlement system.
The Observers shall refrain from interfering or advising or executing any tasks other than those specifically mandated in their respective appointment orders, states the report.
Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers: ECB will appoint a reliable and dynamic officer selected from the public services as the Returning Officer for every National Council Demkhong i.e. in each of the 20 Dzongkhags. The Assistant Returning Officers shall be appointed by the ECB where necessary to assist a Returning Officer.
The Returning Officer shall be the overall-supervisor in the actual conduct of elections in the respective Demkhongs and a Returning or Assistant Returning Officer shall be vested with the authority, roles and responsibilities and fully accountable as per the provisions in the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations, Handbook for Returning Officers and the Appointment Order issued by the Election Commission.
Puran Gurung / Thimphu