172 aspirants register to contest NC elections

ECB notifies the public to refrain from attending any public gathering from February 15 to May

Of the 172 aspirants who have registered with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) to date to contest in the upcoming National Council (NC) election, the commission has received certificates of only 51 for attestation.

ECB’s head of Civic and Electoral Training department, Phub Dorji said that the commission is in the process of reviewing the certificates.

That means 121 aspiring candidates have to get their documents accredited with the Bhutan Accreditation Council (BAC) to get them attested by ECB.

Phub Dorji said that given the limited time to start the NC election process, those who wish to contest in NC election should get their certificates verified and attested on time.

The ECB announced February to May as NC election period and August to October as the NA election period.

Bhutan Accreditation Council verifies documents including the university certificates of aspiring candidates.

Phub Dorji said that once ECB receives the documents, they assess whether the aspiring candidates meet the criteria to run for the election.

The process for recognition involves validating the qualification with the awarding institutes. Validation for those who studied in universities abroad takes time.

According to ECB, a formal university degree is required to contest in parliamentary elections. A formal university degree is a degree not lower than a Bachelor’s degree conferred on a person after having pursued a formal course of study at a university or an institution of higher learning recognised by the Government of Bhutan and attested by a competent authority in the Kingdom.

All aspiring candidates irrespective of having undergone registration with ECB must obtain a letter of attestation on time to avoid missing their chance to contest.

ECB officials said that compared to the past, NC contestants this time is likely to increase drastically. Some may declare their interest only during dhamngo zomdu, which is held at the gewog level.

Some of the existing NC members have also indicated to re-contest.

From the 172 aspiring candidates, Danaga has the highest at 26 followed by 18 in Tsirang. Bumthang has a lone aspiring candidate as of now (see table).

Of the total, eight are female aspirants. They are from Chhukha, Dagana, Mongar, Pemagatshel, Punakha, Samdrupjongkhar, Tashiyangtse and Tsirang.

From 172 aspirants, one has a Phd, 34 have a masters degree and 137 have a have bachelors degree.

ECB has also notified the public to refrain from attending any public gathering from February 15 to May and from August to October.

Except for nation events, which is organised by the state, all gatherings including religious ceremonies and activities will not be allowed during the election periods. But unavoidable rituals in case of death would be considered.

Tenzin Namgyel

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