ECB retracts permission for full-on familiarization campaigns

This is being done to avoid ‘confusions’ and ‘clashes’ among voters. While the NC elections are on, NA candidates touring their constituencies need to consult the LG

While the Election Commission (ECB) earlier last month has given the green signal for political parties and candidates to introduce themselves to the electorate, candidates are not allowed to move around freely and deliver speeches as they wish. This is to avoid confusions and clashes among voters as the National Council (NC) elections are in with the poll day slated for 23 April.

National Assembly (NA) candidates of all the political parties who are on introductory tour in their constituencies need to submit their travel itinerary or Zomdu (meeting) plans to the commission’s returning officer who shall review it and approve accordingly. The candidates also need to consult local government officials in the particular Dzongkhag.

This, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said is put in place to “avoid clashes and prevent inconveniences to voters.” He said the NA candidates are not free to stroll freely as the NC elections are in.

In the 2008 elections there were instances where familiarization tours by NA candidates had bred confusions among the voters.

Political party presidents this year said their parties have not faced any issues till date.

Vice president and spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Damcho Dorji said “it is necessary for all candidates to have their itinerary approved by the returning officer but there shouldn’t be any problem and people can very well distinguish between their NA and NC candidates.”

President of Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP), Sonam Tobgay said some of the candidates are in their constituencies but there hasn’t been any problem as of now.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) Tenzin Lekpell said the party is aware of the NC elections and that their candidates need to be cautious. “When we enter a constituency, we need to make sure we consult the local leaders,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT), Lily Wangchhuk said none of their candidates are in the constituencies as the party is currently preparing for its convention in the capital scheduled for 2 April, 2013.

NC nominations and elections from various Gewogs across the country are in full swing at the moment. Nominees passing the Gewog level elections shall contest to represent their Dzongkhags on 23 April, 2013.

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One comment

  1. ECB is not fair for not granting postal ballot facilities to the private and the coporate employees. As per them civil service and armed forces are given opportunities as they have to go for duties such as Returning Officers, Campaigning Officers, Arbitrators, Security duties etc. etct. These duties can also be entrusted to corporate emplyees, we are sure there are many competent and abled manpower in that sectors also! By not granting the equal opportunities, the ECB is indirectly denying the right of the franchise to the citizen. Because most of the employees will not go to vote all the way to kheng from Thimphu that too via lateral Route. There will be very fewer voter turn out this time. In 2008, people were anxious as it was first such event. Now they have learnt that except additional expenses, the voting gains nothing. Just to confirm this one can ask any private and corporate emplyees anywhere and any time.

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