Election: In the build up to the local government elections 2016, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) will conduct the functional literacy and possession of skills test (FLT) for Thimphu, Phuentsholing and Gelephu dzongkhag thromdes in the first week of December.

The terms of the current tshogpas and thrompons of the three thromdes will end early next year.

Chief election commissioner Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said specific announcement and notification regarding the poll dates will be issued not later than 90 days before their tenure ends. The local governments would be reconstituted on the date their term expires as per the electoral laws.

The election Act prescribes the candidates to local government elections should be functionally literate and possesses skills adequate to discharge his responsibilities. “We are giving the interested candidates adequate time possible for their convenience,” he said.

Those wishing to contest for the post of thromde tshogde tshogpas have been asked to submit their application forms by November 30. Both the written test and viva would be held on December 6 and the certificates awarded on December 11.

However, candidates who already possess certificates do not have to sit for the test again. “Once an individual obtains a certificate for functional literacy test conducted by the election commission, the commission accepts these certificates for subsequent bye-elections or LG elections,” Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said.

“We urge interested LG candidates, who do not have FLT certificates, to take up the opportunities to participate in this basic test.”

However, the test for Samdrupjongkhar thromde has not been announced since elections in the thromde will be held at later date. The test in other thromdes, yenlag thromdes and gewogs will also be held subsequently.

The chief election commissioner said the FLT has been announced only for the three thromdes now so that more candidates turn up in other thromdes. “If we conduct the FLT now for the other thromdes, many might miss the opportunity this time and may request for it to be conducted again at the eve of the upcoming elections,” he said.

The test is open to all registered voters interested to take part in the elections irrespective of their qualification.

By MB Subba