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The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) had dismissed the complaint lodged by Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) general secretary Phurba on October 10 against a Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) supporter Kherjay, who is also known as Tshering Gyeltshen, alleging that he chased the DNT president’s vehicle with the intention of throwing the president and his colleagues off the Melong Brak.

The commission, through a notification issued last night, stated that it dismissed the case after receiving the media arbitrator’s report on the case on October 13 and careful review of the evidence provided by the complainant, statements from the respondent and investigation report as the WeChat conversation record provided as evidence does not prove the instruction or intention of throwing off the cliff as alleged.

It also dismissed the complaint lodged by DPT’s Khar_Yurung candidate, Tshering Choden, and DNT’s Khar_Yurung candidate, Ugyen Tshewang, in relation to the gathering of people at Khangma in Yurung gewog on the night of October 7.

The notification stated that Tshering Choden lodged a complaint on October 8, alleging that Ugyen Tshewang has gathered about 30 people at Khangma on October 7 between 6pm to 10pm.

“On the same day, Ugyen Tshewang filed a complaint against Nim Dorji, the DPT coordinator in Khangma, alleging of violence and criminal action.”

As both complaints relate to the same incident that took place on the night of October 7 at Khangma, Pemagatshel’s dzongkhag election dispute settlement body (DEDSB) carried out an investigation jointly and statements were obtained from some of the individuals involved.

The DEDSB forwarded the complaints with the investigation report on October 10 to the central election dispute settlement body (CEDSB).

“The Commission dismissed both the cases after a detailed review of the complaints, statements and the investigation report as it was found that the meeting was of the local party supporters upon arrival of the candidate in the chiwog and that there was no evidence to prove violence or criminal action,” the notification stated.

It also dismissed a case filed by DNT’s representative in Athang_Thedtsho constituency against a DPT supporter, Ugyen Dorji.

The media arbitrator received the complaint on October 8, alleging that Ugyen Dorji has said that if DPT wins, he would give heavy punishment to those who did not listen to him.

The media arbitrators forwarded the complaint to the CEDSB the next day and a hearing was conducted on October 11. “Based on the submissions and other material facts, the case was dismissed as the allegation could not be proven, the evidence provided by the complainant was a modified version and the full conversation on the matter was subsequently provided by the respondent as evidence.”

ECB also dismissed a case lodged by DPT’s representative in Dagana, Kaka Tshering, against an individual in Dagana, Gyeltshen, for referring to the party as “Ngolop Party” and soliciting a vote for DNT.

“The Commission, upon careful examination of the complaint, dismissed the case on October 12 for want of prima facie evidence,” the notification stated.

It also dismissed a complaint lodged by Phurba against Tenzin Wangchuk, alleging him of being a religious personality and involving in the electoral process by promising to contribute Nu 300,000 for Kerong village’s Drupchen in Pemagatshel, which is to be held in January or February next year for the electoral benefit of the DPT’s candidate of Nganglam constituency.

The commission stated that it dismissed the case upon finding that Tenzing Wangchuk was not a religious personality, as his occupation is reflected as farmer in the census records and accordingly is a registered voter in the electoral roll that was finalised after the claims and objection period.

“Other than the fact that he is the brother of the DPT candidate, there is no evidence of him having exercised any undue influence or made any remark or indication of an electoral benefit to the candidate in the WeChat record provided by the complainant as evidence,” it stated.

ECB has also issued a warning and imposed a fine of the minimum wage of 30 days to DNT’s coordinator of Bartsham_Shongphu constituency in Trashigang, Ugyen Wangmo.

DPT’s general secretary Sangay Phurba, lodged the case on October 11, alleging Ugyen Wangmo of circulating hate message in WeChat group (Bhutanese Charos) that misled the voters with reference to DPT being anti-national and that the people must not support DPT.

The Commission received the findings and recommendations of the media arbitrator on October 12 and after examining the case found Ugyen Wangmo liable for sharing the WeChat message specifically in relation to the legal provision of any content with the intent to reduce the electoral chances of an opposing contestant or political party.

Tashi Dema

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