Dechen Dolkar

In the event that two political parties, securing the highest and second-highest votes, find themselves tied in the primary round of elections, the Election Commission of Bhutan would conduct a re-election between the parties.

There are five political parties contesting in the primary round marking the highest number of participating parties in the election’s history. However, only the two political parties which secure the highest and the second-highest number of total votes will contest in the general round of elections.

However, in this election, since there are five political parties and votes may get divided among the parties, it is likely for votes to get tied in the primary round of elections.

According to the Election Act, section 463 states that the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) will conduct re-election if two or more candidates or parties secure an equal number of votes for the highest or second-highest positions.

Section 464 states that if a tie persists even after the re-election, the returning officer will forthwith decide between the tied parties or candidates by a draw of lots in the presence of parties, candidates, or their representatives.

If, in case, the ECB has to conduct re-election due to tied votes, it will incur a huge additional expenditure to the government on top of the estimated Nu 444.321 million budget for the fourth National Assembly elections.

It was learned that the ECB has also proposed an increase in the State campaign fund from Nu 150,000 due to inflation; however, due to a limited budget, the government could not increase the campaign fund.

Meanwhile, for State funding eligibility in the next elections, each of the five political parties must secure more than 10 percent of the total votes cast. Failure to meet this threshold would render a party ineligible for State funding in the subsequent elections.

For this election, 496,836 Bhutanese are eligible to vote, out of which 254,742 are women and 242,094 are men.

The poll day for the primary round is scheduled for November 30.