This will allow current LG members to complete their full term

LG: The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has postponed the upcoming local polls by about one and a half months.

The ECB had earlier notified that the second phase of the local government (LG) elections would be held in July, dates for which was supposed to be announced today. But the ECB on June 4 issued a fresh notification stating that the polls have been postponed and that the dates will be announced only on July 28.

This means that the elections will be held in late August or early September. LG elections are held after one month from the announcement of the poll dates.

“The deferment is being done in view of the genuine concerns about the tenure of the local governments highlighted by various democratic institutions including dzongkhag tshogdus and the agencies responsible for local governance,” the ECB’s media unit stated in an emailed response.

The postponement of the elections will allow the current LG members wishing to re-contest to complete their full term. An elected LG member does not get retirement benefits without completing five years in office from the date of the first sitting.

Elections to a local government is held within 90 days after the expiry of the term.

Meanwhile, the ECB has released a revised atlas of the LG constituencies with the number of voters. The revised atlas became necessary after Parliament last year declared 16 dzongkhag thromdes and 20 yenlag thromdes.

According to the new atlas, there are now 394,695 eligible voters in the country. Of the total, 94 percent or 371,111 comprise rural voters from 205 gewogs.

There are 18,699 voters in 20 dzongkhag thromdes and 4,885 voters in as many dzongkhag yenlag thromdes. However, Denchi dzongkhag thromde in Pemagatshel, the dzongkhag yenlag thromdes of Dhosoom in Trashiyangtse and Damji in Gasa do not have any registered voters.

Chazam Pan chiwog in Tashigang also does not have a single registered voter. Loongchhungna chiwog in Hungrel, one of the gewogs that was affected by the demarcation of thromde boundaries, has only seven voters.

The spelling and names of some constituencies have been revised as per the submissions received from the dzongkhags, according to the ECB. They were also revised to make them self-explicit and facilitate easy reference, reflect and restore the meaning or symbolism of the original names and the history of the places, and to standardise the spellings of the names guided by the spellings in the national language.

The Delimitation Commission of Bhutan has urged all concerned authorities, media and the members of public to “own the responsibility to apply and popularise the names of places as spelt out herein in their records, correspondences, orders, public information notices and sign boards at their earliest”.

The elections in gewogs, where elections will be called on July 28, were held in June 2011 but their tenures are counted from the first sitting. The elections will be held in all dzongkhags including new thromdes, except for 10 gewogs.

Elections in five gewogs of Chhumig (Bumthang), Phuentsholing (Chhukha), Goenshari (Punakha), Sang-Nga-Chholing (Samtse) and Mendrelgang in Tsirang will be conducted in the third phase.

The final and fourth phase will see elections in the five gewogs of Bjabchhog and Doongna in Chhukha and Samkhar, Bartsham and Uzorong gewogs in Trashigang.

MB Subba