Lower voter turnout but plenty of action during second LG elections

A total of 1,477 posts including the post of Gup, Mangmi and Gewog Tshogpa in the 205 gewogs, Thrompon and Thromde Tshogpas for Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde and Thromde Ngotshabs in 16 Dzongkhag Thromdes were contested for the 2016 Local Government elections.

3,391 Candidates contested the elections for the various posts excluding the rejection of the nomination of 32 Candidates, 2 death cases of contesting candidates, 2 cancellations and 3 who were disqualified. However, no candidates filed nomination to contest for the post of Tshogpa in 41 Chiwogs of 17 Dzongkhags and for the post of Thromde Ngotshab in Gasa, Monggar and Pemagatshel Dzongkhags.

The voter turnout at the polls numbered a total of 402,149 total registered voters out of which 205,247 are female and 196,902 male, however the total number of vote casted was 224,484 which includes 189,433 through EVM and 35,051 through postal ballot, however the number of voter turnout was 55.8% which has slightly decreased compared to past LG election which was 56.23%.

For 1,477 constituencies, 1,423 candidates were elected as Local Government leaders including, 205 Gups out of which only 1% of females got elected both from Dagana, in Tashiding and Gesarling gewog. 203 Mangmis out of which 23 (11%) are females and 180 (89%) males, 999 Gewog Tshogpas were elected out of which 130 (13%) are females and 869    (87%) males and 1 Thrompon.

Though the women participation has seen as a growing trend, the number of male overpowered the women numbers at large.

Namgay Pelden from Tashiding gewog, the first female gup who got elected for the Gup for second time said, “The result was expected due to the reputation” she said, “Women need to participate more since there is no such challenges that the people in the past has experiences as then there were no medium of communication” she added saying that it has become easier now.

Besides being functionally literate as required under the law, the academic qualifications of the elected Candidates are 40 elected Degree candidates out of 150 degree contestants, 494 elected high school graduates out of 981 candidates, 324 elected primary education level candidates out of 697 and 137 Non Formal Education elected candidates out of 332 candidates.

Out of the total 1,423 elected candidates, 432 of them had previously held elective posts in the Local Governments.

Out of 330 uncontested elections, a total of 12 candidates including one female received more ‘No’ votes than ‘Yes’ votes. There were also a total of 13 cases of tied results where re-Polls will have to be held.

Though the elections for the gewog tshogdes of 205 gewogs including Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde Tshogde and the 13 Thromde Ngotshabs of 13 Dzongkhags went smoothly with no major problems, ten stations suffered problem with EVMs due to human error and mix-up of old and new sets of the EVMs leading to Linking Error but which was addressed adequately.

However, in one case Dangreybu_Ngagang Chiwog under Dophuchen Gewog of Samtse Dzongkhag the EVM machine for Mangmi had shut down and so the 57 voters who had already cast their votes had to be recalled and re-cast their votes on the fresh EVM with the polling hours being extended upto 8pm.

The other case is in Atola Chiwog, Thangrong Gewog of Monggar Dzongkhag where the EVM for the Tshogpa could not be read and a re-poll conducted in the Chiwog along with the re-poll in the Vacant Demkhongs.

The Candidate contesting elections for the post of Thromde Ngotshab in Paro had to be disqualified and the election results thereof nullified as it came to light that he had a record of criminal conviction.

Also a total of 71 local Government Demkhongs are vacant with 41 vacant Chiwogs, 4 vacant Thromde Ngotshabs, 13 Tied Results, 12 Negative Voting and 1 Re-Poll and so elections would be called to these in due course of time.

A total of 16 disputes were decided by the Dzongkhag Election Dispute Settlement Bodies (DEDSBs), Central Election Dispute Settlement Body (CEDSB) and the Commission. There were five complaints related to the Zomdu, seven on corruption charges, four on violation of the Code of Conduct and four on eligibility of Candidates.

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