Even after three rounds of elections, with the last having been held on April 18, 10 local government (LG) positions remain vacant.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) had called for elections in 60 constituencies that had remained vacant due to lack of candidates and a by-election in Dozotoen chiwog of Thimphu’s Soe gewog. However, the posts for six gewog tshogpas, three thromde ngotshabs and one thromde tshogpa were not filled again given a lack of candidates.

The vacant constituencies are the three chiwogs of Nagar-Philooma, Damsagang Toed and Tshoduen in Samdrupjongkhar, and Phuentsholing thromde tshogpa demkhong. Gasa, Trongsa and Paro also did not get thromde ngotshab candidates.

Lingzhi gewog’s Chhuzarkha chiwog and Celing chiwog of Getena gewog of Chhukha also remain vacant.

A total of 76 candidates—13 women and 63 men—contested in the elections. Out of them, 51 candidates—8 women and 43 men – have been elected.

According to a press release from the ECB, the overall voter turnout was 30.8 percent. A total of 15,664 people were eligible to vote in Tuesday’s elections, but only 4,821 cast their ballots.

Of the total votes cast, 4,759 were cast in person on electronic voting machines (EVMs) in polling stations and 62 were through postal ballots. “No disputes were lodged and no problems were reported in any of the polling stations,” the press release from the ECB stated.

A total of 1,489 officials were deployed in the elections.

The ECB yesterday formally declared results, which confirmed the election of 46 gewog tshogpas, one thromde ngotshab and four thromde tshogpas. The election has come as a relief for Phuentsholing thromde and Lingzhi gewog of Thimphu, which were not able to take major decisions as the required quorum could not be met.

There should be at least five elected members to constitute a tshogde quorum. The Phuentsholing thromde and Lingzhi gewog were unable to call their regular tshogdes due to lack of quorums.

A tshogde is the decision-making body of a local body.

Section 580 of the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, mandates the ECB to declare election results a day after the election. While those elected in vacant demkhongs will serve five years, those elected through by-elections will serve for the remaining years of the term.

The election petition period started from yesterday and will end at 5pm on May 3.

MB Subba