The numbers of the 2018 polls

Election code of conduct for the political parties, candidates and supporters

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) issued the acceptance of the Letter of Intent to the four political parties to contest the National Assembly Elections 2018 based on the general fulfillment of the criteria set by the ECB.

The Letter of Intent documents include tentative list of 47 Candidates, income and expenditure statement of the last Financial Year (FY 2016-2017) and until the date of filing (July to mid-August 2018), lists of 20 dzongkhag party offices and contact details, membership lists, social media links of party office and candidates and the party manifestos.

According to the Chief Election Commissioner, the tentative list of the 47 candidates is mandated because it will show the preparedness of the party for the upcoming elections.

Within the ECB, the letter of intent was first reviewed by the sub-committee headed by an election Commissioner which was formed specifically for the purpose. The sub-committee then submitted its findings and recommendations to the Commission for its final scrutiny and decision on the acceptance of the letter of intent for all the four political parties on 22nd August in accordance with the specified schedule by the commission.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa submitted their Letter of Intent on 18th August, Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party on 19th August, and the People’s Democratic Party and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa on 21st of August 2018.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa has around 11,383 members registered with the party as per the latest figure and has a total fund balance of Nu. 1.987 mn.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party has 1,215 members registered with the party so far and the party has a total fund balance of Nu. 1.224 mn. The People’s Democratic Party has 5,520 registered members so far and has a total fund balance of Nu. 8.836 mn with the party while Druk Phuensum Tshogpa has a total membership of 4,705 members and a total fund balance of Nu. 2.279 mn.

Final electoral roll for the NA elections

As per the schedule, the ECB also issued the final electoral roll on the same day the letter of intent acceptance was issued to the individual party.

The Final Electoral Roll, after due incorporation of changes received during the period of ‘Claims and Objections’ from 2nd -12th of August 2018, has a total of 438,663 voters of which 224,550 are females and 214,113 are males as on 1st of July 2018, the qualifying date for the NA Elections 2018.

Out of the total 438,663 registered voters in the country, 133,795 are registered as postal voters for the National Assembly Election 2018.

There are 31,267 voters who have registered for the conventional postal ballots while the newly introduced facilitation booth a record registration at 97,870 voters. To obtain the maximum voter turnout and make it convenient for the civil servants, the timings for the operation of the facilitation booth has also been extended from 8 a.m. till 7 p.m. A total of 4,658 voters are eligible for the mobile postal ballot facilitation booth services for the people with special needs.

There were 381,790 registered voters during the 2013 NA elections of which 193,873 were female voters and 187,917 male voters. Only 79,698 were registered as postal voters at the time.

Election code of conduct for the political parties, candidates and supporters

Going by the election schedule, a party or candidates will have more than 24 days for campaigning in both the primary round and the general elections. The party or the candidates have to campaign strictly as per the election campaign schedule approved by the concerned returning officer and if any changes are required, the returning officer’s approval must be sought and the observer should be informed too.

The Commission said that campaign schedule should be announced to the voters through public communication and notices on the election advertising boards and that the attendance of the voters to such meetings should not be encourage through unethical schemes.

During the campaign period, the party or the candidates neither allowed to serve meals or refreshments, including tshogchang or joenchangs, nor distribute any money for attending the campaigns. They are also not allowed to produce and distribute t-shirts and caps representing the party.  During the door to door campaigns, the candidates have to abide by the electoral laws and they’ll not be allowed to campaign before 6 a.m and after 6 p.m.

All the financial institutions are required to report to the ECB on any abnormal transactions, and also report the account of a candidate or political party contesting the elections.

The civil servants, except for the election official on duty are not allowed to campaign or attend campaigns or political meetings. The Chief Election Commissioner said that it is the duty of all the stakeholders like the political parties, media, civil servants and the general public to ensure free and fair elections.

About Sonam Yangdon

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