MB Subba  

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has reminded all registered political parties not to issue press releases that constitute any form of campaigning.

The ECB on August 24 warned the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in writing against the press release it had issued on August 18. A copy of the letter has been sent to all other parties.

The press release was issued based on the replacement of “Wangtse Chhirpel” with “For a better Druk Yul” as its new slogan, which was approved by the ECB in June. A tagline phrase “A promise we will deliver”, which was added to the slogan, has also been approved.

According to the Election Act, a party must communicate any change in its head office, office-bearers, address, and election symbol or change in any other relevant information without delay to the election commission.

The party, accordingly, had sought the ECB’s endorsement of the change in its slogan.

However, it was learnt that the ECB had objected to the press release on the ground that some of the contents besides the approved slogan were allowed to be used only during campaign periods.

The ECB reminded the party not to repeat the same.

The PDP, however, says additional phrases were added to the approved slogan in the press release as sub-phrases. The contents of the press release were to set the context and elaborate on the new slogan, which in the party’s view did not in any way constitute any form of campaigning.

The ECB stated that the press release was found in violation of Sections 142 and 268 of the election Act and Section 10.1 of the Political Party Rules of the country.

Section 268 states the election campaign shall be permitted to commence from the date of issue of notification by a Royal Decree calling an election as announced or notified in the case of Local Government elections by the Election Commission and end 48 hours prior to the hour fixed for the commencement of poll for the election.

The party’s first slogan was “Walk the Talk”.