Both DPT and PDP have declared their candidates

By-election: The by-election in the North Thimphu constituency will be held on November 4, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has notified.

The constituency consists of the thromde, and the four gewogs of Kawang, Lingzhi, Naro and Soe. Election campaigning will begin from October 14.

Both the opposition Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) recently announced their candidates for the by-election. Tshering, 33, is the PDP candidate while DPT’s candidate is 26-year-old Kessang Wangmo.

Kinga Tshering resigned as MP recently to pursue higher studies abroad.

The last date for filing of nominations by candidates Thursday is October 13. Candidates eligible to contest for this by-election should be a registered member of the ruling or opposition party.

A candidate whose nomination had been duly accepted by the returning officer for the first parliamentary elections need not produce it unless specifically instructed by an election authority. Registered voter who is born after September 30, 1951 and before September 30, 1991 will be deemed to meet the maximum age requirement of 65 years and minimum of 25 years to be candidates.

Similarly, those voters whose mitsi (census) had been registered in the constituency on or before September 30 last year will be deemed to meet the durational requirement to be a voter or candidate.

All electoral stakeholders may use the social media for election or campaign purposes but the ECB has advised them to abide by the electoral laws, Election Code of Conduct and specifically adhere to the requirements under the Social Media Rules of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2015. “All those under the laws not eligible to campaign for or against a candidate or a party in an election, including all elected position holders in the local government, shall ensure that they do not engage directly or indirectly in the election campaigns,” the ECB notification has stated.

According to the ECB, supporters or representatives cannot use any title, sign, insignia or symbol. “No person shall use the title, designation, rank, kabney, gyentag, pata, or any other sign, insignia or symbol of an office held earlier, on person, car or any personal effects as may be used during the campaign period by the candidate, representatives or supporters,” states the ECB.

The office of the Returning Officer and venue of the election events shall be, as far as possible, at locations that do not require the wearing of the kabney, gyentag, and pata.

The polls will be conducted in 14 polling stations. Public offices in the constituency will remain close on the poll day. The ECB has said all employers are required by law to grant required number of days as election leave for any voter wishing to go to vote in person.

The ECB will use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for polling in all polling stations.

MB Subba