All four registered political parties agreed to deregister 550 members from their parties to resolve the irregularities of multiparty membership that the Election Commission of Bhutan had found while reviewing the parties’ annual report for 2017-18.

Party representatives while waiting for the commission to issue the acceptance to the letters of intent (LoI) to contest the upcoming elections decided to deregister all members who were found to have multiple party membership.

According to a press release from the commission and based on the information the parties submitted in their letter of intent, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) at 11,383 members has the highest number of registered members among the four parties while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has the highest amount of fund balance at Nu 8.83Million (M). DNT has a fund balance of Nu 1.98M. PDP has 5,520 registered members.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) has 1,215 members and a fund balance of Nu 1.22M and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) with 4,705 members had a fund balance of Nu 2.27 million.

The Letter of Intent documents include tentative list of 47 candidates, income & expenditure statement of last financial year (FY 2016-2017) and till filing (July to mid-August 2018), list of 20 dzongkhag party offices and contact details, membership lists, social media links of party office and candidates and the party manifesto.

On August 13, the commission had written to all parties that during the review of the parties’ annual reports for 2017-18 fiscal year, it had found irregularities with the membership list. The commission listed 44 members without valid citizenship identity card information and 550 members with multiple party memberships.  Of the total 594 members with these two irregularities, DNT had 306 members, DPT had 136, PDP had 98 and BKP, 54.

“Further follow-up activities related to accounts and membership lists shall be taken up with and by the Parties in due course of time as these require both short term as well as long term measures for systematic and institutional development in coordination with the stakeholders,” the commission’s press release states.

The commission on August 22 issued the Acceptance of the Letter of Intent to the four political parties to contest the National Assembly Elections 2018.

DNT submitted the Letter of Intent on August 18, BKP on August 19 and the PDP and DPT on August 21. The press release states that the four registered political parties submitted their Letter of Intent within the timeframe issued in the Election Schedule notified to the public on August 18.

Sonam Pelden