Large public gatherings will not be allowed 

Elections: The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has advised people to keep celebrations of the upcoming Thruebab (Blessed Rainy Day) low profile in view of the ongoing local government (LG) elections.

The ECB has issued letters to returning officers (ROs) and observers, stating that the commission has been receiving requests for permission to observe  Thruebab, and that it cannot stop the celebration of the traditional annual event.

Returning officers and observers can allow people to observe the event but also need to advise the people to keep the celebrations low profile and ensure that the event does not involve a large gathering of people. Any activity related to a candidate or supporters that may be perceived as violating the Code of Conduct under the electoral laws has also been prohibited.

ECB secretary Dawa Tenzin said the organisation of events like Khuru matches are allowed with proper permission from the respective returning officers or the dzongdag. “Celebrations can be held since it’s a traditional annual event,” he said.

Although candidates are not prohibited to attend or take part in games, the secretary said it was advisable for them to refrain from being involved in the events organised to mark the Thruebab. “Large gatherings of people are not allowed,” he said.

In the light of the confusion created by calendars showing different dates for the Thruebab this year, the home and cultural affairs ministry has clarified that the government holiday for Thruebab falls on September 23. It corresponds to the 22nd day of the 7th month of the Fire Male Monkey year in the Bhutanese calendar.

Meanwhile, the ECB has notified voters of Bjena gewog, Wangdue about the death of Pema Yangzom, one of the mangmi candidates there. The candidate was allegedly murdered by her former husband recently.

The ECB has advised those postal voters who have not yet posted their postal ballots to indicate their vote for either of the two remaining candidates for the post of mangmi.

In case votes have already been cast for the deceased candidate, their postal ballots will have to be nullified.

MB Subba

Supported by Bhutan Media Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation