Former Dangchu gup could be asked to refund election expenses

LG: While Dangchu gewog still awaits the gup by-election following the resignation of their former gup, the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) chairman and dzongkhag are planning to approach him to refund some amount of the election cost.

DT chairman Tenzin Wangchuk said former gup, Sonam Dorji’s resignation was inline with the local government Act that allows a local government leader to resign by submitting the resignation letter to the DT.

However, Tenzin Wangchuk said they would leave it up to him if he wants to refund to help meet the cost of by-election. By-election for the post of gup is estimated to cost more than Nu 200,000.

There is no rule requiring resigned elected leaders to refund the cost of election.

In a recent letter to the Wangdue DT, the local government department stated that the resignation of the gup was disheartening for both the local government and the people of Dangchu gewog.

“As this was the first such case where a local government leader has resigned a few months after election, there is no law to deal with such issues or to ask him to refund,” the letter stated.

The letter also stated that resigning after receiving dhar is not a good example. The department asked local leaders to raise points if they have any to make changes in the laws to prevent such cases in future.

The by-election will be held only upon completing the formalities of the former gup, sources said. The former gup has followed all procedures as per the local government Act.

When the former gup put up his resignation, the DT chairman was attending a meeting in Phuentsholing after which he approached the deputy chairman for approval.

The local government Act also allows the deputy DT chairman to approve the resignation incase the DT chairman is not available. Since it was clearly reflected in the Act, the DT had no option but to approve his resignation, said local leaders.

The former gup resigned on November 15 and left as a dependent of his wife who is pursuing higher education in Australia.

Since then his resignation has sparked a debate among the people. The issue was also raised during the recent Local Government Chairpersons’ Conference in Phuentsholing. During the conference, some local leaders pointed out that there is a need for clear rules to prevent the resignation of newly elected local leaders or political leaders. If not, they said a law requiring elected leaders to refund the election cost should be instituted.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue

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