In keeping with Section 457 of the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) formally declared the results of the three Thromde Tshogdes in Gelephu, Phuentsholing and Thimphu on January 26.
Kinlay Dorjee, the lone candidate in Thimphu was re-elected for his second term as Thimphu Thrompon with 2,107 yes votes and 150 no votes. In Gelephu, voters chose Tika Ram Kaffley over two other candidates to be their new Thrompon with 317 votes. Uttar Kumar Rai, a lone candidate, is the Phuentsholing Thrompon and he got 248 yes votes and 239 no votes.
There was 60.48 percent voter turnout in Gelephu, 62.75 percent voter turnout in Phuentsholing and 31.01 percent voter turnout in Thimphu.
For the Election of Thrompon and Thromde Thuemi in the three Thromdes, there were 9,185 total registered voters out of which 3,422 turned up to cast votes.
Similarly there were 8,709 total registered voters for the Thromde Tshogpas in the three Thromdes, from which only 3,152 cast their votes, resulting in 36.19 percent voter turnout.
The Chief Election Commissioner, Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said, “Thromde Elections in all three dzongkhags went smoothly and there were no major issues encountered in any of the polling stations and counting centers.”
The only minor problem that occurred in Thimphu was to do with 10 voters who had not received their updated Voter Photo Identity Cards (VPIC).
An issue also cropped up on January 22 in Phuentsholing, where ECB had to cancel the nomination of the former Phuentsholing Thrompon for his re-election due to the false declaration of documents and holding of a non-permissible valid business license at the time of filing in nomination. This was after the ACC informed the ECB.
The nomination of another candidate of Phuentsholing Thromde had also been rejected on the grounds of being under-age during the time of nomination.
The Tshogpa Demkhongs of Maed in Phuentsholing and Namkhaling in Gelephu will remain vacant as there were no candidates contesting in these two Demkhongs.
Further for having secured more ‘No’ votes than ‘Yes’ votes Demkhong, candidates of Pakerzhing and Rinchending under Phuentsholing Thromde of Chukha will also remain vacant.
In the due course of time, elections in the vacant Demkhongs will be undertaken with formal declaration of results and issuance of notifications.
The Thromde Tshogdes shall be deemed to have been duly constituted under Section 258 of Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008.
The election will be undertaken in these vacant Demkhongs, only if there are candidates contesting for the vacant posts, during the phase-2 of the Second Local Government Elections in the 20 dzongkhags.
The phase-2 of the Local Government Elections is to take place in June, phase-3 in July and phase-4 in November of this year.
The phase-4 of the Second Local Government Elections is considered inevitable, due to the differing dates of completing tenures in offices of various Thromdes.
Almost all the Local Government Elections in the 20 dzongkhags will be carried out in Phase-2, except for elections in 5 gewogs of Chummey (Bumthang), Phuentsholing, Goenshari (Punakha), Sang-Nga-Chholing (Samtse) and Mendrelgang in Tsirang which will be conducted in Phase-3.
Elections in 5 gewogs of Bjabchhog, Doongna in Chukha , Samkhar, Bartsham and Udzorong in Trashigang will be conducted in Phase-4.
For all upcoming elections, ECB urged all stakeholders and those interested candidates to take responsibility in preparing the necessary documents required for nomination purposes and to take the Functional Literacy Test (FLT) which will be held in April 2016 in the 20 dzongkhags.
The main purpose of doing so is to identify, motivate and to help any potential candidates to prepare for contesting the elections.
ECB said the success of the elections was due to cooperation from voters, and support from election officials, various ministries and departments, dzongkhags, dungkhags, Thromde administrations and media agencies.