Postal ballot for all registered voters: ECB

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) will facilitate postal ballot services for all registered voters including those residing outside their Thromde and overseas, during the third Thromde elections, according to the spokesperson of ECB, Phub Dorji.

As per the postal ballot rules and regulations, the postal ballot vote is entitled only for  diplomats and persons working in the Embassies of the Kingdom of Bhutan and their spouse and dependents; persons residing outside Bhutan for the performance of a special government duty; members of the Armed Forces as defined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan; civil servants and their spouses and dependent; students and trainees and any other group of voters as specified by the Commission in consultation with the government.

“This time we are providing this service because of the COVID-19 protocol. People don’t have to come in person to vote if they are staying in other dzongkhags,” said the ECB spokesperson.

He said that currently the commission is collecting information of registered voters from each household where they are.

The commission is also contacting the voters for information as due to the pandemic they need to follow the health protocol. Based on information collected, the commission will set up more polling stations to avoid crowds.

As per the Election Act 2008, the new Thromde Tshogde should be re-constituted within 90 days on the date of expiry of the current Thromde Tshogde.

The spokesperson said that they will announce the date of election when the tenure ends.

There are seven constituencies in Thimphu Thromde followed by six constituencies each in Gelephu and Phuentsholing. There are around 10,000 voters in the three Thromdes.

The Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde Tshogde will complete its term in September this year.

Some voters from Thimphu on grounds of anonymity said that now it is time for the candidate to change. One of the voters said that the mayor, Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee has served the nation for two terms and it is enough. “It is time to change the candidate and bring in new ideas. Every capable person can contribute new ideas,” he said.

Business Bhutan contacted Thimphu Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee asking him to comment on the issue but he refused saying he was busy with meetings and had no time.

Business Bhutan learnt that there are around four aspiring candidates for Thimphu Thromde so far and they are planning to come out when the commission officially announces the dates.

The Thromde Tshogdes of Thimphu, Phuntsholing and Gelephu will complete their five-year term on February 26.

Dechen Dolker from Thimphu