Dechen Dolkar

The nomination of candidates to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) for the general elections from the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) begins today.

The candidates nominated by the two political parties to contest the general elections will submit his/her nomination papers to the concerned Returning Officers.

The deadline for filing nominations by candidates is December 9.

The Returning Officers will undertake the scrutiny of the nomination papers filed by the candidates on December 10, with intimation to the ECB. 

Both political parties have the advantages of selecting the best candidates from three political parties to form a strong party for the general elections. 

According to the rules of election conduct in Bhutan, 2022, a candidate for an elective office in Bhutan will not switch political parties during an election until after the conclusion of the primary round of elections.

The rules states that both the candidate and the political party which the candidate is seeking to join will make an application to the Commission before the candidate is allowed to switch political parties, and providing all information and documents which may be sought by the Commission.

It states that a candidate may only switch political parties after it has received the prior written approval of the Commission.

However, the two parties have not yet decided on the switching of candidates.

The general election campaign will commence from December 12 upon acceptances of candidature by the returning officer and it is also the last date for candidate to withdraw.

After the last date set for the withdrawal of candidature, it is mandatory for the validly nominated candidates to attend the respective public debates

Each candidate will receive a campaign fund of Nu 150,000 from the ECB. 

The common forum and public debate are scheduled to commence from December 14. December 15 is the last date for receiving application for changes related to address from registered postal voters and returning officers starts sending postal ballots to voters.

The ECB will operate special early voting for people with disabilities from January 2 to 4. The election campaign will end on January 7. 

The poll day for the general election is on January 9. 

An appeal against a decision of the ECB or an issue related to the poll day or EVM may be lodged to the High Court from January 10 to 24, 2024, in accordance with the provisions of the Election Act, 2008 related to the filing of an election petition.