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Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

 

When voters in Thimphu and Gelephu thromdes go to polling stations to cast their votes for the thromde election tomorrow, those in Phuentsholing will remain home under strict lockdown restrictions.

However, this doesn’t affect the thromde elections in the city since they have already cast their votes on April 24 and April 25. It also marks the country’s first ever thromde election in which voters have cast their votes before the polling day.

Of the thromde’s 925 eligible voters, 767 have voted. Out of 767 votes, 514 residents voted during the two days, the Returning Officer (RO) Kuenga confirmed yesterday.

He said 13 teams were arranged for 13 zones under the six thromde demkhongs. A team each had an election official and a desuup or a policeman for security.

The teams went to the eligible households and got the voting ballots filled.

RO Kuenga said the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) also made a “special arrangement” for eligible voters stranded in other dzongkhags due to the lockdown.

“Election offices in 20 dzongkhags were used and ballots were provided to the voters,” the RO said, adding that ballots have already reached Phuentsholing.

A total of 122 voters have registered under this special scheme. However, 96 people voted.

For the conventional postal ballot, 159 had registered with the ECB. A total of 153 sent their ballots. Six have not posted their ballots yet.

ECB had also posted 39 ballots overseas but only four ballots have returned.

RO Kuenga said these postal ballots will be opened and sorted today. Ballots arriving before evening today will be counted.

The blackout period, which commenced yesterday will end today. The counting of the votes will start tomorrow at noon.

Candidates will be allowed to attend during the counting and opening of the postal ballots.

RO Kuenga said the candidates have been facilitated with the movement permit.

Although the final number of votes could change with the postal ballot yet to open, the turnout is about 83 percent.

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