72 Dhamngoi Zomdus conducted

Dhamngoi Zomdu is a nomination process of a candidate for NC elections

Seventy two Dhamngoi zomdus have been conducted across the country as of Friday.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) notified that Dhamngoi zomdu for National Council (NC) can be held from February 24.

Dhamngoi Zomdu is a nomination process of a candidate for NC elections. Every gewog and dzongkhag thromde is eligible to nominate one candidate from their gewog and thromde.

The Spokesperson from the ECB and the head of department of election, Sonam Tobgyal said that only Gasa and Pemagatshel thromde will not have nominees since they have less registered voters.

Before the zomdu, the team conducts a coordination meeting to schedule the zomdu in the gewogs and other necessary decisions they need to make. The team consists of chief elections coordinator-the Dzongda, deputy chief election coordinator-the Dzongrab and Dungpa, assistant chief election coordinator- the thromde executive secretary and gewog administration officer and other stake holders including the dzongkhag election officers.

The ECB has set the standard time for zomdu from 9am to 3pm. However, Sonam Tobgyal said that if more time is required, the coordination team will decide in the coordination meeting.

He also said that if there is more number of voters present in the zomdu and the zomdu did not finish at a particular set time, the team would provide a slip to remaining voters to vote until voting was over.

During the zomdu, candidates should carry Voter Photo Identity Card and two passport sized photos to use at the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Sonam Tobgyal said that during the zomdu the team will also verify the age of the candidates, maintain the list of political party members to cross check whether they are apolitical or not and also cross check with a history of election corruption. “Firstly the candidates should address themselves in the zomdu,” said Sonam Tobgyal.

He said that where there is no single candidate from the gewog, a statement form should be filled up by the people of particular gewog stating that there is no nominee. It should be signed by the every person present in the zomdu.

He said that gewogs which have large number of registered voters and people who have to walk long distances to reach gewogs may have more than one Dhamngoi Zomdu to provide equal participation.

“In such cases, separate EVM will be carried and finally the votes will be counted together,” he said.

During the zomdu, the draft electoral roll will be used to vote which was issued by the ECB.

According to the ECB schedule, most zomdu processes started from the first week of March and most of the zomdus will complete by March 10.

Sonam Tobgyal said that they will try to finish the zomdu process by March 15 so that candidates will have sufficient time to follow up on their documents before March 19.

The last date of filing nomination is March 19.

He said after the zomdu, the election team will issue a form to a elected candidate from the gewog which will be signed by the team and candidates themselves. The form has to be submitted to the returning officer for nomination. If they fail to submit the required documents, the returning officer will disqualify the candidate.

ECB recorded a drastic increase in voter participation during the zomdu compared to the past elections.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu