MB Subba

The third thromde elections in Thimphu, Phuentsholing and Gelephu will be held on April 28.

According to the election schedule released today, the dhamngoi zomdus (selection of candidates) for the post of thrompon and the collection of signatures by aspiring thromde tshogpa candidates will begin on March 20.

The campaign period will start on April 2 and end at 8am of April 26.  This means that candidates will have more than 24 days for campaigning.

As per the Strategy for the Conduct of Thromde Elections 2021 amid Pandemic, all individuals attending common forums should ensure full compliance with all the Covid-19 health safety protocols.

A registered voter, who fulfils the criteria laid down in section 178 of the Election Act, is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for election to the post of thrompon or thromde tshogpa.

Every thromde tshogpa demkhong is entitled to nominate one candidate each to contest the election for thrompon.  The dzongkhag election office will hold a dhamngoi zomdu in every thromde tshogpa demkhong to select a candidate wishing to contest election to the post of thrompon.

Aspiring thromde tshogpa candidate should produce signatures of at least five percent of the registered voters from the thromde tshogpa demkhong supporting his or her nomination to the post of thromde tshogpa, provided no voter has supported more than one nominee.

The aspiring candidate should wear a facemask, use hand gloves and maintain physical distancing when engaging with the voters while seeking signatures.  

The ECB has notified that ministers, Members of Parliament, officials or members of a political party and local government post holders will be prohibited from campaigning directly or indirectly for any candidate.

The commission also notifies that no travel or official tours should be undertaken by a minister or Member of Parliament, particularly to the constituency during the election period, except to cast their votes on the poll day.

In case of unavoidable travel, he or she should first report to the ECB or concerned returning officer.

Public debates will be held on April 12, 13 and 14 for Thimphu, Gelephu and Phuentsholing, respectively.

The registration for postal ballots, which began on March 1, will close on March 23.  A registered voter, who applied for a postal ballot, will not be allowed to vote in person.

The elections will be completed within the stipulated time.  The election Act states that a local government election should be held within 90 days from the expiry of the term.

The three thromde tshogdes completed their term on February 26.  The thrompons of the three thromdes have expressed their intent to contest the upcoming election.  Thimphu Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee completed his second term, while Phuentsholing’s Uttar Kumar Rai and Gelephu’s Tikaram Kafley completed their first term.

There are about 10,000 eligible voters in the three thromdes.  Elections for the Samdrupjongkhar thromde are due in September as the first election in the thromde was delayed.