DNT’s Nubi -Tangsibji candidate fined Nu 15,000

Dechen Dolkar 

After almost a day-long hearing and discussions yesterday, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) decided to impose a fine of Nu  75,000 on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for violating electoral laws. 

The general secretaries of the four political parties—Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Bhutan Tendrel Party, and the Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa—appealed to the ECB concerning a video posted by the PDP President on the last day of the campaign from Tashigang on the party’s social media page. They demanded the PDP to be disqualified from contesting the National Assembly election today.

The video clip of the PDP president that went viral claimed the party of Royal patronage, specifically claiming that  His Majesty said that only PDP could serve the nation well. The general secretaries of the four political parties urged the ECB to disqualify the PDP, citing disharmony in society and a perceived lack of a free and fair election process.

In accordance with the rules on election conduct of Bhutan 2022, section 10.1 stipulates that if, in the opinion of the Commission, any political party, permitted participant, or candidate infringes any provision of these rules, the Commission may issue a warning or impose a fine of the minimum wage for 600 days on a political party, or both.

In what was not shared before, the ECB also announced that the general secretary of PDP filed a complaint against Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) Nubi-Tangsibji representative for an alleged violation of electoral laws. A formal warning accompanied by a fine of Nu 15,000 was imposed in response to a statement made by the party’s representative in a social media group.

The fine was imposed under section, which allows the Commission to issue a warning or impose a fine of the minimum wage for 120 days on any person or entity, other than the political party or candidate or both.

The Commission stated that it conducted a comprehensive review of the complaints, scrutinising all details to ensure a free, fair, and transparent electoral process. The Commission rendered its decision yesterday, dismissing two complaints and imposing fines on two political parties after conducting hearings on the complaints from the political parties against members of rival parties.

However, the allegation of electoral corruption made by party representatives of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa, and PDP against the Bhutan Tendrel Party President in the Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong Demkhong was dismissed as it did not involve any violation of electoral laws. 

The details of the complaints were not shared.

The Commission also dismissed the allegation of a violation of electoral laws made by Bhutan Tendrel Party’s Gewog Coordinator against PDP’s Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate due to insufficient evidence provided by the complainant to substantiate the allegation. 

The Commission did not reveal the details of the allegations.