Nima Wangdi 

Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) rescheduled poll day to January 6 for eight gewogs whose gup candidates were reissued audit clearances recently.

The gup candidates of Chapcha gewog in Chukha, Dangchu and Nyisho in Wangdue, Patshaling in Tsirang, Guma in Punakha, Korphu in Trongsa, Soe in Thimphu, Lunana in Gasa and the tshogpa candidate for Changyul-Loongsilgang–Tashijong were disqualified after their audit clearances were revoked by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA).

However, RAA reinstated their audit clearances on December 6.

ECB’s media focal, Phub Dorji said the poll day for all the 205 gewogs remains unchanged. “It will be held on December 22 as scheduled.”

On December 22, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for the candidates who earlier had clearance issues will not be there but people will still cast their votes for other posts,” he said.

Citing an example, he said, for Guma gewog in Punakha, the gup’s EVM will not be there on December 22 but people will vote for mangmi and tshogpas. “Likewise, on January 6, there will be EVMs for only gup’s post in all the chiwogs except for the Changyul–Loongsilgang–Tashijong chiwog, where there will be an EVM for tshogpa too.”

He said, all the candidates, who had audit clearance issues, would be given a level playing field.

Phub Dorji said that the postal ballot forms would be reprinted and distributed among the voters.

ECB issued a notification yesterday stating that rescheduling of elections in the gewogs would begin with the filing of nominations by the nine affected candidates. 

“They should file their candidate nominations by December 20 and scrutiny of the nomination of candidates will be done on 21,” the notification stated.

Candidates can withdraw their candidature before December 23, when the election campaign will also begin. “Returning Officers will start sending postal ballots to registered voters both within and outside the country on December 23,” the notification stated.

“Election campaign will end on January 4 and the last day for receiving postal ballots will be on January 5,” the three-page notification stated.

The notification stated that the ECB rescheduled elections for the nine candidates following a letter that they received from RAA on December 6 reinstating their audit clearances.

“Upon receipt of the RAA’s decision and following a thorough review of the matter and relevant electoral laws, ECB decided to reschedule the election for the eight affected gewogs,” the notification stated.

Initially, RAA revoked audit clearances for the nine candidates following a letter from Anti-Corruption Commission informing that there are cases against the individuals.

Edited by Tshering Palden