MB Subba 

The executives who have been managed out through the leadership assessment by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) will not be allowed to contest elections, according to sources.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) recently met with party presidents to convey the Commission’s decision.

No written notification, however, has been issued.

The clarification has come amid questions as to whether being managed out can be considered voluntary resignation or removal from the service.

The RCSC in a recent response to Kuensel on the issue stated that “the executives who left the civil service after the leadership assessment exercise exited through voluntary resignation”.

While civil servants who exit the service through voluntary resignation are eligible to contest elections, those dismissed or removed from the service are ineligible to stand as candidates.

The election Act does not specify whether or not being managed out from the public service is removal or dismissal.

It was learnt that they were disqualified from contesting elections on the grounds that they were removed.

The ECB in a recent emailed response on the issue said that it would allow aspiring candidates to contest elections upon fulfilling the set criteria outlined in the Constitution and the electoral laws.

“If the aspiring candidates fulfil the required criteria, the ECB will not prevent anyone from contesting the elections,” ECB stated.

Section 179 of the election Act states that a person shall be disqualified as a candidate if he or she has been convicted for any criminal offence and dismissed or removed from public service or the corporate sector.

It was learnt that one of the political parties had roped in a few of the executives who were managed out as candidates before the ECB briefed the party presidents on the issue.

Most of the parties, however, claimed that they did not have managed-out civil servants as candidates.

The secretary general of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kuenga Tashi, said that the party had all 47 candidates and that none of them was managed out from the public service.

A Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) official also said that it does not have an issue.

Some observers are of the view that the former executives should be eligible to participate in elections, as they have not committed crimes that could have led to termination or removal from the service.