Poll day for Nanong-Shumar

Voters of Nanong-Shumar constituency under Pemagatshel will once again go to the polls today to elect their national assembly (NA) representative. Polls at the 17 polling stations across the three gewogs of Nanong, Zobel and Shumar will begin from 9 am and results shall be counted on the same day in the evening.

The Election Commission of Bhutan’s (ECB) Returning Officer (RO) for Nanong-Shumar, Sonam Bumthap said only 292 postal ballots has been received as of yesterday evening, the last day for reception of postal ballots.

Of the 292 postal ballots, 11 have been rejected. The RO said eight were rejected as the respondents’ identity declaration cards were enclosed in envelope ‘A’ instead of ‘B’ and three because of incorrect Identity card number.

About 136 people have been assigned to regulate the whole election process at their respective polling stations. Eighty-five of the lot, the RO said are civil servants, and 51 are security personnel.

ECB will officially declare the results on November 10, and the election petition period shall begin as well and end on November 25. The issuance of certificate from the ECB will be handed to the candidate on November 14.

Bye-election for the constituency is being held following former Druk Phuensum candidate (DPT) candidate Jigmi Y Thinley’s resignation on August 10, post the last general elections.  DPT, the current opposition party is represented by a 31-year- old businesswoman Dechen Zangmo from Chungkhar village, Zobel gewog who has Bachelor of Arts Cluny Women’s College in Kalimpong, India.

The People Democratic Party (PDP), who won 33 out of the 47 seats to form the government in the last elections, is represented by former candidate, Pema Wangchuk, 34, who has a Masters in Law from Canberra, Australia and was working with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) before joining politics.

During the general elections this year, former Lyonchhen and DPT President Jigmi Y Thinley won with a landslide margin, with 3,742 votes while PDP candidate Pema Wangchuk secured only 1,011 votes.

Political watchers believe both the current candidates have an equal potential to win the elections, and since Pema Wangchuck is a ruling government candidate and appears to be well-experienced in elections, while Dechen Zangmo is replacing the former Prime Minister who trounced the PDP candidate.

The election campaign ended on November 7 prior to the 24-hour black out period before the Poll Day.

PDP’s candidate had the support of agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji and economic minister Norbu Wangchuk, while former health minister Zangley Dukpa and MP Rinzin Jamtsho assisted Dechen Zangmo during the campaign period.

The cost estimated for the bye-election is about Nu 1.4mn. There are 8,278 voters of which 4,114 are male voters and 4,164 are female voters.

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