Following the recently conducted primary round of elections, the political parties must now file the returns of election expenses to the concerned dzongkhag Electoral Office or directly to the Public Election Fund Division within thirty days of declaration of the primary round of election results.
This is one of the criteria the two parties must fulfill to contest in the general round of election.
According to Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), “With the formal declaration of the results of the primary round polls, ECB shall request the two political parties securing the highest and second highest total number of votes to formally nominate one candidate each to contest the general elections in the 47 National Assembly demkhongs from the accepted tentative list submitted in the Letter of Intent.”
The nomination papers shall be submitted by a candidate nominated to contest the general elections starting from June 1 with the last date for filing nominations on June 11, 2013 to the respective Returning Officers.
The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) having secured maximum number of valid votes in the primary round of National Assembly over People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who received the second highest number of valid votes will contest in the general election which will be held on July 13, 2013.
The voter turnout for the primaries was at 211,018 voters or 55.27% of the total registered voters in the country which is at 381,790.
“The voters cast their votes for the party of their choice, and added their individual signatures to determine the outcome of primary round of polls which will be recorded in history of the nation as the first-ever primary round polls held under the Drugi Tsathrim Chhenmo,” says the ECB news release.
To ensure free and fair elections as well as for public trust in the integrity of the election system, all the fourteen cases received by the ECB were resolved before the poll day and the general public duly intimated on the cases and the decisions.
No major problems were encountered in the conduct of the poll for primary round of election. There were a few cases where voters coming to vote without their VPIC, who were facilitated with the printing and distribution of the VPICs wherever possible.
There were three cases of religious personalities voting and a total of eight voters erroneously marked as religious personalities indicating the need for concerted actions from all concerned including the choedhey lhentshog, dzongkhag and gewog administrations as well as the persons concerned who are expected to declare themselves as being a religious personality.
Eighteen voters in Haa and five in Lhuentse, who could not go to their respective polling stations due to bridges being washed away or road blockage, were allowed to vote in the other polling station where they could travel to.
There were six cases of voters being wrongly marked as “deceased” in the electoral roll were facilitated to cast their votes, and two transfer cases in Tsirang were also facilitated. The ECB also rendered the due apology for the error.
The success of the primary round of election was credited to the voters who turned out to vote, the political parties, and the entire team of dedicated and fearless election officials, security personnel, and polling officers who worked tirelessly with commitment and enthusiasm.
ECB also acknowledged the support of the Interim Government, ministries, departments, dzongkhag and gewog administrations, media and other agencies such as the Bhutan Telecom, Bhutan Post, Banks, and Bhutan Power Corporation, etc. which provided support in the conduct of the elections. A special mention was also made of the prolific social media users who responded positively to the ECB’s earnest request to respect the 48 hour no-campaign as directed by law.
ECB offered its deepest gratitude to His Majesty the King, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo for being a source of inspiration and motivation, and His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the monastic community for their prayers and blessings, and the goodwill of the people of Bhutan for the successful conduct of the first-ever primary round of election to the National Assembly.
“The ECB looks forward to working together in the conduct of the general election to the National Assembly,” stated the release.