NC: The National Council (NC) supports the Supreme Court’s (SC) recent writ asking the election commission to defer the upcoming thromde elections in the remaining dzongkhags, said its deputy chairperson Tshering Dorji yesterday.

“The Supreme Court’s writ is nothing different from what the NC had raised earlier to the higher authorities,” Tshering Dorji said, on the sidelines of a press conference.

He said that the SC’s writ did not come as a surprise since it reiterates the need to conduct elections as per the laws. “It’s a positive move,” he said.

The SC on August 5 issued a writ to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) to defer yenlag and dzongkhag thromde elections in remaining dzongkhags because of several legal and administrative issues pertaining to local government (LG) elections.

The writ stated that the SC being the guardian of the Constitution and the final authority on its interpretation issued the order to constitute a high-level commission with experts from relevant fields to review and harmonise the conflicting provisions in the LG and election Acts and the Constitution.

The SC, therefore, ordered that save for LG elections in the 205 gewogs and thuemi elections in Samdrupjongkhar, thromde elections in yenlag and dzongkhags should be deferred until such time that the commission reviews the laws and further specific orders are issued.

Though the NC has not discussed the writ from the SC in a meeting yet, the issue is similar in nature to what the House raised earlier with the ECB.

“These issues related to elections were raised during the announcement of elections in the thromdes like Gelephu, Thimphu and Phuentsholing.

Then the house reiterated the need to resolve these issues as per the electoral rules and provisions of the constitution,” Tshering Dorji said.

He added that the House has been raising and discussing these issues, be it about the electoral laws or Constitution through discourse and in written led by the committee and the NC chairperson.

The House has also emphasised the importance for any institution to accord its actions with the provisions of law since democracy is a fairly new concept in Bhutan. Therefore, should there arise any conflicting interpretations, as a House of review the NC has been emphasising on the need to resolve the issues through proper and elaborate discourse.

“On the Council’s part, the House has from earlier been discussing with ECB. But since even the ECB could do little about these issues, the House hence apprised the higher authority on the issues as per the provisions in the Constitution,” Tshering Dorji said.

The House also welcomed the formation of a review commission since it is insinuated that it will be formed from the judiciary members.

Tempa Wangdi