Chencho Dema


The Wangdue Dzongkhag Election Dispute Settlement Body yesterday fined Pema Chewang, President of the Bhutan Tendrel Party, Nu 75,000 for violating election laws.

Besides imposing the fine, the DEDSB also warned him that in case of recurrence, the party will be fined and dealt with under the Election Act and the Social Media Rules and Regulations.

On December 21, the Nyishog-Saephu candidate of People’s Democratic Party, Kuenga filed a written complaint with the DEDSB alleging that the BTP president had violated both the Election Act and the ECB Social Media Rules and Regulations 2018 with his promotion of Royal patronage.

The incident in question allegedly took place on December 17 during a public meeting of the BTP president in Phobjikha, Wangdue.

The complainant detailed six accusations against the BTP president in a three-page complaint letter, one of which included the party’s Royal patronage.

The letter stated that, “He also said in the meeting that during his tenure as the secretary of National Land Commission he had immense responsibility and power where he did not have to deal with anybody, not even the Prime Minister. While all the minister and secretaries have to report to the Prime Minister, he had privilege of reporting directly to His Majesty regarding land and other matters.”

Other grievances, however, concerned providing Wangdue residents with Z-plots (excess land) should they support his political party.

One of the allegations was that secretaries nominated by His Majesty tend to resign by the time they become sixty, but he was appointed by HM to serve as the NLC secretary for a term of ten, fifteen, or even a lifetime.

The president is alleged to have subtly conveyed to the public that HM has given him orders to start a new political party.

In addition, it is said that at the aforementioned meeting with the constituents, the president accused the PDP president Tshering Tobgay of lying and corruption.

“Such irresponsible, defamatory and false allegations have not only tarnished the image of PDP but caused great concern among the thousands of party workers and supporters,” the letter further stated.

The complaint had provided documentation/ recordings/ witnesses for the claims in addition to the complaint letter.

Meanwhile, the BTP disputes every accusation, according to BTP’s December 26 rebuttal of a seven-page complaint filed against the party.

The letter to the dzongkhag chief election commissioner by the General Secretary of the party Tshering Nidup stated, “As the President’s representative, we would like to refute all of the allegations due to lack of comprehensive evidence that can prove the facts beyond reasonable doubt.”

BTP appealed to the DEDSB to dismiss all the allegations made by the PDP candidate Kuenga and cautioned him to be mindful of such baseless allegations, which is intended to defame BTP and its president, who has a proven track record in his 32 years of service.

The  two individuals—former Phangyuel Gup Chador Namgyal and former council member Adap Passang—were also fined Nu 15,000 apiece for encouraging BTP supporters to cast ballots for the party.

While the former gup was convicted of campaigning in Saephu GC, Adap Passang was accused of campaigning at both gewogs.

Both the individuals were neither candidate nor candidate representative. The incident took place at Phobji Ramichen and Saephu gewog center on December 18. They were also warned to not repeat such acts.

The president has seven days to pay the fine and five days to appeal to the ECB’s central dispute resolution body.