Nima Wangdi 

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has disqualified two candidates contesting in the local government elections for Drakteng gewog in Trongsa yesterday.

The commission found that they were involved in an electoral offence in postal ballot registration.

Two other individuals, who were supporters of the two candidates, were also fined for trying to support the candidates through the deceitful act. They are drivers working in a International NGO in Thimphu. Four of them colluded in committing the fraud of 116 postal ballots, ECB officials said.

The disqualified individuals, former gup Kinzang Dorji and tshogpa Kando, are the candidates for the post of gup from Khatoe chiwog and tshogpa candidate for Khamey chiwog in Drakteng gewog. The gewog now has three gup candidates and one tshogpa candidate for Khamey chiwog.

The ECB’s media spokesperson Phub Dorji said that their system detected the fraud a few days ago, after which it was investigated. “The ECB decided to disqualify the candidates following the investigation.”

Phub Dorji said that the disqualification of the candidates would not hamper elections in the gewog. “We will go ahead since there are other candidates,” he said.

Phub Dorji said that not a single postal ballot registered through fraud was sent. The people against whom postal ballots were registered deceitfully can still go to their respective polling stations to vote.

ECB officials said that although there have been a few problems related to the elections, none of them had been of such a severe nature and to this degree, wherein candidates had to be disqualified.

Meanwhile, the paper ballot facilitation booths (PBFB) across the country will be open from today. Thimphu has 10 PBFB centres.

The centres will be operational until December 15. The poll day is on December 22.