616 candidates selected for gup

The LG elections will be held on Sept. 27

LG: A total of 616 candidates were selected for the post of gup, out of which 27 were women.

According to a press release from the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) issued on August 31, 906 aspiring candidates stood for gup at the zomdus. Fifty of them were women, and 856 were men.

The last chiwog zomdu was held on August 28.

The number of selected women gup candidates is over four percent of the total nominees. About 54 percent of those women who stood as candidates at the zomdus were selected.

The figures show that men were more successful than women in securing the nominations at the zomdus, with 69 percent of the men who stood as candidates getting selected.

A total of 1,052 zomdus were conducted across the country by a total of 90 teams of officials from the respective dzongkhags in all 205 gewogs. This includes the zomdus in the Samdrupjongkhar thromde.

A total of 101,060 voters, which is slightly over 25 percent of the total eligible voters nationwide, turned out to participate in the zomdus.

Similarly, a total of 654 mangmi candidates were selected at the zomdus. According to the ECB, 926 stood as candidates at the zomdus, of which 122 were women and 804 were men.

Out of the total selected mangmi candidates, 78 are women and 576 are men. This translates to over 11 percent women participation as candidates for the polls.

In the Samdrupjongkhar thromde, there was only one female and two male aspiring candidates for the post of thrompon. One man and one woman have been nominated for the polls.

A total of 22 zomdus saw aspiring candidates being rejected with more “No” votes than “Yes” votes with negative voting for three women and 19 men.

Officials on zomdu duty encountered five cases of tied results, where re-election had to be held.

August 31 was the last date to file nomination papers. Scrutiny of nomination papers was carried out on September 1.

Election campaign will start on September 3 and end on the 25 of the same month.

A dispute each was appealed to the Central Dispute Settlement Body from the Samdrupjongkhar thromde and Loong-Nyi gewog of Paro.

According to the ECB, a common concern expressed by the people was the lack of postal ballot facilities in the zomdu process. The ECB clarifies that it is necessary for candidates to be already selected and known to the ECB to make postal ballot facility available for the voters.

Where as, it is only during the zomdus that the candidates are first known and selected by the electorate, the commission stated. “The postal ballot is not possible in zomdu and it is not a matter of mere inconvenience,” it stated.

The gup and mangmi candidates combined, there are 1,270 candidates. The ECB however, did not reveal figures for tshogpa candidates.

Bhutan will go to the polls on September 27.

MB Subba

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    With less than 24 hours left for the campaign to begin officially, it seems that we all are well set for the LG election scheduled for 27th September. Even ECB officials have gone through some hard work conducting1052 zomdus covering all 205 gewogs. And now we have 616 and 654 eligible candidates entering the three weeks long campaign period contesting for the posts of gup and mangmi respectively.

    If I were a listed voter for the LG elections, I would have considered the zomdu a testing time for me even as only a voter. And I don’t have any intention to make anyone feel offended saying that. To know the aspiring candidates for the first time and then to weigh their candidature for the main election is no easy a job. A lot will depend on my judgement about the candidates as I either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for them so that their candidature can be finalised. I get the chance to pick both a leader and my choices as his/her opponents in the election when it happens. It’s always a difficult choice to make and demands some highest level of democratic judgement. I could only expect my knowledge about democracy and local governance to guide me through in this difficult process.

    And we have already seen negative voting trends in 22 zomdus and re-elections breaking a tie in as many as 5 cases. And all these have happened well before the official campaign for LG elections can be started. It never makes things any easier for a voter who is probably not highly educated about democracy in local governance. We have also seen candidates with their nominations getting rejected due their still continued involvements with political parties. Voters selecting them in the zomdus were probably not aware about the matters.

    Total number of aspiring candidates are at 906 and 926 respectively for the posts of gup and mangmi and it’s not a bad trend to notice that 616 and 654 candidates have passed through to stand as candidates during the zomdus. But one worrying fact is that only a little above 25 percent of total eligible voters have participated in these zomdus and probably it can also be interpreted that they all were either highly indecisive or divided in selecting the candidates. But divisions here can’t be expected to be political ones as we are talking an apolitical process in LG elections.

    67.99% and 70.63% of aspiring candidates actually getting selected for gup and mangmi respectively are big numbers. While only 22 zomdus have noticed negative voting, that only makes 2.09% of total number of zomdus and in terms of candidates, that’s a mere 1.2% candidates getting a clear negative voting. But voters felt like clearly decided in negative voting. We only expect that voters’ turn out will be more on the election day and they will be more and better decided about the candidates to vote for after going through the entire campaign phase. But a zomdu still remains a challenging time for me if I were both a voter or an aspiring candidate in LG elections.

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