LG: The Election Commission is all set to hold elections for all dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes except for Samdrupjongkhar and Pemagatshel in January next year with the recent Parliament session declaring the new thromdes.

A total of 15 dzongkhag thromdes and 18 yenlag thromdes were declared in the recent session.

Chief election commissioner (CEC) Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said the process for thromde elections could begin by December. He said the commission is hopeful that the Pemagatshel dzongkhag thromde issue would be resolved in the forthcoming winter parliament session.

The thromde elections will be held in the first phase of the four that the commission has planned for the entire LG elections. “Elections for dzongkhag thromde tshogde and yenlag thromde elections for 18 dzongkhags will be held in January next year,” he said.

Election for Samdrupjongkhar thromde would not be held in the first phase as it would be due only in the second phase.

The ECB expects to complete the delimitation of new thromdes soon for the election process to begin. “We hope to be able to issue the final delimitation order by the third quarter of this month,” Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said.

Elections for gewog tshogde (GT) for 194 gewogs, dzongkhag thromde thuemi (DTT) for 18 dzongkhags and dzongkhag thromde tshogde (DTT) for Samdrupjongkhar, will be held in the second phase in June 2016. The third phase, which will be held in August next year will include elections for six gewogs, and dzongkhag thromde thuemis for Punakha and Trongsa. 

The last phase of elections will be held on November 27 next year, in which elections in five gewogs of Pemagatshel and Paro yenlag Thromde will be held.

Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said it is time for voters and candidates to check with the nearest election offices to prepare to participate meaningfully in the second LG elections.

A budget of Nu 275M has been allotted for the 2016 LG elections, including the budget estimates for elections in the newly declared thromdes.

The budget estimates, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, were proposed to the government anticipating that the Parliament would declare thromdes for all dzongkhags. “The projections will cover the elections for all dzongkhag thromdes,” he said.

On the election budget, he said, “We are not concerned of budget as under the laws, the budget for the elections and the ECB is guaranteed to be made available from the consolidated fund.”

The commission also expects the finance ministry to be as always, ‘understanding.’ Quoting a former secretary, he said, “If the country decides to have democracy, the finance ministry must be ever-ready to give its full support to making it a success.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay in his annual state of the nation report to Parliament said the declaration of the thromdes was expected to facilitate proper town planning and development in all dzongkhags and bring about balanced socio-economic development.

“The government will continue to work closely with the local governments to this effect,” he said. “Regarding Pemagatshel and Paro Thromdes, we will work together with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the establishment of thromde in the respective dzongkhags is not delayed.”

MB Subba