Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

Two women tshogpa candidates, who followed the election result on Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS), were happy when BBS declared they secured the highest votes in the chiwog.

Their happiness however, was short-lived.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) told the tshogpa candidates of Lhaling chiwog in Dagana and Maanthong chiwog in Tashigang that they lost the election.

Lhaling Chiwog’s tshogpa candidate, Phul Maya Katwal, said that BBS announced that she secured 127 votes whereas the other candidate Gembo secured 126 votes. “But ECB’s records showed that Gembo secured 134 votes.”

She said that after celebrating her victory as announced on BBS, she went to submit her documents to the election office but was surprised to find out that she lost to Gembo. “I was embarrassed because everyone thought I won.”

Phul Maya Katwal said the returning officer (RO) did not clarify the changes and BBS also did not make the correction.

Disappointed by the change in result, Phul Maya yesterday filed a petition letter to the dzongkhag court.

In a similar case, a tshogpa candidate of Maanthong Chiwog in Kanglung Cewog, Ghaley Wangmo, alleged that the ROs and gewog administration officer said that she won the election, but the result on BBS showed that she lost to Karma.

She said that while waiting for the result on BBS, she fell asleep; reassured by the earlier information she got from the officials. “My sister called to say that I lost to another candidate. I was left devastated and confused by the two results.”

Ghaley Wangmo said people and organisations should be held accountable for creating such confusion.

Sources said that there was a similar issue in Yadi Gewog in Mongar, which was resolved after the candidate checked the results again.

“The process should be transparent so we trust the system,” a source said.

Official sources in Dagana said that on the night of the result declaration, ECB’s system crashed and the results on the dashboard had to be updated three times. “That could have resulted in errors,” an official said.

The official also said the final result is the one signed and submitted by ROs. “The election results announced by BBS are provisional, meaning they are subject to change.”

The candidate, the official said, was allowed to check the results again, and she was asked to address her grievances through a petition letter.

In the ECB result shared with the media houses, Gembo is the tshogpa-elect from Lhaling Chiwog. Karma is the tshogpa-elect from Maanthong chiwog.