LG: With about a month left for the second nationwide local polls, a training programme for the electoral officers who will be deputed as returning officers, national observers and micro-observers began in Thimphu yesterday.

The participants have been divided into three batches, each of which will take a three-day training.

According to a press release from the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), the programme is considered important, as all officials on election duty “must have a sound understanding of the electoral processes and the electoral laws and key legal provisions to ensure elections of a high standard”.

“In particular, returning officers, national and micro-observers have a vital role to play in the conduct of elections and it is imperative that they are conversant with the electoral laws and thorough with the election process to discharge their duties confidently and efficiently,” the press release stated.

During the opening session, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Chogyal Dago Rigdzin, highlighted the importance of the local election and the need for dedicated services of the electoral officials in ensuring that the second phase of the elections are successful “as envisioned by our Kings”.

During the training, participants will be educated and oriented on the election laws and the key areas of concern. The trainees will be sensitised on electoral documents so that they would be able to identify their specific roles and responsibilities.

The trainees will be familiarised with various election forms and procedures, provided hands-on training through role play on postal ballot handling process and use of electronic voting machines (EVM).

The second phase of the election will be held in July. The election process will begin in June.

Most of the incumbent local leaders will complete their terms next month. This will leave about 30 days in between the start of the election process and the poll day.

The elections in gewogs, where elections are slated in July, were held in June 2011. The elections will be held in all dzongkhags including new thromdes, except for 10 gewogs.

MB Subba