The four-phase election will be completed in November

Election: The second phase of the 2016 local government (LG) elections will be held in June, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) announced yesterday.

The LG elections are scheduled into four phases, the first of which has been concluded and the last will be held in November. The schedules were prepared depending on the dates of completion of terms of the serving local leaders.

The second phase of elections, scheduled in June, will see elections in all dzongkhags, except in 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 in July.

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 Dzongkhags in November.

Speaking at a press conference in Thimphu yesterday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said all stakeholders and those interested to partake in the election should prepare the necessary papers required for elections. “The second phase of the election will be held sometime in June,” he said.

To identify and motivate potential candidates, a fresh round of functional literacy test (FLT) will be held across the country in April.

ECB officials also said elections in four vacant tshogpa constituencies – three in Phuentsholing and one in Gelephu – will be held in the second phase.

The Namkhaling constituency in Gelegphu and Phuentsholing Maed in Phuentsholing saw no candidates. Pakerzhing and Rinchending demkhongs in Phuentshogling also remain vacant as their candidates secured more “No” votes than “Yes” votes.

“Another round of elections will be held in these vacant demkhongs if there are candidates, along-with the second phase of the local government elections in the 20 dzongkhags,” the CEC said.

Declaring the results, the ECB yesterday declared that thromde tshogdes in the three dzongkhags have been constituted.

Meanwhile, Monday’s election saw the overall voter turnout decrease by 13.5 percent. The voter turnout for thrompons in the first thromde elections in 2011 was 50.75 percent. The overall voter turnout for the three thromdes this year was 37.25 percent.

Thromde wise, Phuentsholing saw the highest voter turnout with 62.75 percent. With a total of 776 eligible voters, Phuentsholing is the smallest of the three thromdes by voter population.

Gelephu saw 60.48 percent of the thromde’s 1,121 eligible voters casting their ballots. In Thimphu, only 31.01 percent of the 7,278 eligible voters turned up to vote.

A total of 21 people, including three thrompons and as many thuemis, were elected.

Despite the poor voter turnout, ECB officials expressed satisfaction the polls went smoothly. On the poll day itself, everything went smoothly and there were no major problems encountered in any of the polling stations and counting centres except in Thimphu where 10 voters had to be facilitated with issue of the updated Voter Photo Identity Cards (VPIC), election officials said.

MB Subba