Election: A total of 700 students from 24 schools in Trashigang are expected to vote during the first-ever Bhutan Children’s Parliament (BPC) election on September 12.

Nominated candidates would be vying for the six posts of Member of Bhutan Children’s Parliament (MBCP) that consists of a National Council member and five National Assembly members representing the six demkhongs (constituencies) of the dzongkhag.

Guided by the Constitution of the BCP incepted on June 2, BCP is the apex body of democracy clubs across schools in Bhutan. The 24 registered schools adopting democracy clubs are eligible to nominate their candidates.

The six MBCPs would be joining another 42 MBP-NAs and 19 MBP-NC members for other dzongkhags who would meet once every year to discuss various issues related to democracy and youth to any pertinent subject that encourages learning on meaningful roles and responsibilities of a citizen towards sustaining our democratic setup.

Article 3, section 9 of the Constitution of BCP states that each democracy club shall be entitled to elect one candidate to be nominated to contest the BCP-NA elections in the respective Demkhongs.

Trashigang’s electoral officer Sangay Phuntsho said that the idea of BCP rests on a foundation that was built between the election commission and education ministry through a memorandum of understanding. The BCP election is expected to create awareness among the future generations of a meaningful democracy.

“We are currently collecting information and preparing the draft electoral roll. By today, the children’s voter cards together with the electoral roll would be ready,” he said.

Where there is more than one candidate from a single school for both the categories, voting would decide the rightful candidates and in case of a single candidate, a “yes” or “no” voting would be initiated.

The polling stations will be at the respective schools while the democracy club coordinators with support from the dzongkhag election offices would monitor fair elections on the poll day.

“Each polling station would be provided with two Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and another two as backups,” Sangay Phuntsho said.

School going children, trainees or college students are eligible to contest provided one is not older than 24 years. The tenure of the elected members would be two years.

The Kanglung –Samkhar –Udzorong constituency has the highest number of member schools at seven while Bartsham-Shongphu, Radhi-Sakteng and Wamrong constituencies have five schools each. Thrimshing constituency has two member schools.

With the completion of the signature process of eligible candidates, filing and scrutiny of nominations would take place today. The day would also mark the start of campaign period.

Results would be declared on September 13 and submitted to His Majesty The King. Election petition also begins then and ends on September 23.

Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang