MB Subba 

In about three months, elected thromde officials or the Dzongkhag Thromde Tshogdes will complete their five-year term before which elections for new Thromde Tshogdes should be completed.

However, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) is yet to start preparations for the forthcoming elections. Going by the Act, the ECB should announce the dates for the upcoming thromde elections within these few days.

Head of the election department, Sonam Tobgyal, said that the ECB has not made preparations for the upcoming thromde elections. But he added commission would meet to discuss the matter soon.

“We were busy with parliament and local government bye-elections which are just done,” he said.

The second thromde elections were held on January 25, 2016. The term of thromde tshogde members including thrompons is counted from the first sitting of the tshogde, according to the Local Government Act.

For instance, the first sitting of the Gelephu Thromde Tshogde was held on February 26, 2016. This, as per the Election Act means that the current tshogde should dissolve on February 25 next year and a new thromde tshogde should be reconstituted on the same day.

The Election Act treats local governments as continuous government just as the National Council is a continuous House. This means that the new thromde tshogde should be re-constituted on the date of expiry of the incumbent thromde tshogde’s term.

Section 196 of the Election Act 2008 states, “The Election Commission shall, not later than 90 days, before the date of expiration of duration of a Local Government, announce the date on which the Commission shall issue the notification calling the election and setting the process of election in motion so as to ensure that each Local Government is reconstituted on the date of expiration of duration of the existing Local Government.”

The Section adds that provided that in the case of premature dissolution, such announcement shall be made after the dissolution so as to ensure that a new local government is reconstituted within 90 days of its dissolution.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the election commission concluded bye-elections to the National Assembly in the Choekor-Tang constituency, Bumthang and local governments on November 19.

The four dzongkhag thromdes are Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar whose Thrompons are Kinlay Dorjee, Utar Kumar Rai, Tikaram Kafley and Karma Sherab Thobgyal, respectively.