KalimNews, Thimpu: The Election Commission of Bhutan declared the Election results of the National Council Elections, 2013. Out of the total 67 Candidates who contested the National Council Elections, 20 have been elected by the voters of the 20 Dzongkhags to be their representative as the Members of the National Council of the Second Parliament of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Out of 379,819 registered voters in the 20 Dzongkhags 171,544 voters exercised their franchise in the election held on 23rd of April 2013. 147,577 of them cast their votes in person on the Electronic Voting Machines in the 850 Polling Stations and 23967 voters through the Postal Ballots.
The Voter Turnout percentage was 45.16 %. The National Council is duly constituted under Section 452 of the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008, a press release of the commission stated.
The elected members of National Council are Kamal Bahadur Gurung of Tsirang, Dhan Bdr. Monger of Sarpang, Sangay Khandu of Samtse, Pema Tenzin of Chhukha, Nima of Bumthang, Jigme Wangchuk of Samdrup Jongkhar, Rinzin Dorji of Punakha, Jigme Rinzin of Pema Gatshel, Kaka Tshering of Paro, Sonam Wangchuk of Monggar, Tempa Dorji of Lhuentse, Tshering Dorji of Haa, Sangay Khandu of Gasa, Sonam Dorji of Dagana, Pema Dakpa of Zhemgang, Tashi Dorji of Wangdue Phodrang, Tharchen of Trongsa, Tashi Phuntsho of Trashi Yangtse, Sonam Kinga of Trashigang and Nima Gyeltshen of Thimphu.
The Election Commission stated that the Common Forum for campaign by all Candidates in each Demkhong (rather than calling of community meetings by individual Candidates), as piloted during the Local Government Elections, was also implemented successfully during this election.
While election dispute settlement system bodies were instituted in all the 20 Dzongkhags, we had only a single election dispute lodged in Zhemgang Dzongkhag which was appealed right up to the Commission level and action taken thereof was the imposition of fine to two couples who hosted a Zhingdup without prior permission from 3rd to 8th of March 2013 and issued a warning to Ugyen Chophel, a Candidate of Phangkhar Gewog for his introductory tour without formal permission as required.
9,174 Postal Ballots applications were reported as “rejected”. However, 5,380 applications were found submitted by those who were not registered as Postal Voters. In effect, only 3,974 applications were the rejected figure which is an insignificant rate of rejection.
A review will be carried out to assess the possibility to improve the effective participation of postal voters through minimization of errors by applicants and revisiting the transportation procedures to cut down delivery time in country and abroad for the National Assembly elections, the release stated.
Everything went smoothly and there were no major problems encountered in any of the Polling Stations and Counting Centres on the Day of Poll.
The National Council Elections 2013 was conducted by the 20 Chief Election Coordinators; 39 Deputy Chief Election Coordinators; 205 Assistant Chief Election Coordinators; 20 Returning Officers; 28 Assistant Returning Officers, 4,250 Polling Officers and the Security Personnel of the Royal Bhutan Police and Royal Bhutan Army.
The Elections were observed by 20 National Observers, 27 Micro-Observers and total of 5 International Medias, 4 from India and 1 from France.
The Media Arbitrator supported by the Media Team monitored and provided support for proper and adequate media coverage of the Election by the 11 accredited media agencies and 188 media personnel.
The estimate of the total budget is to the tune of Nu. 500 Million out of which Nu. 8.71 M was disbursed to the Candidates as the Public Election Campaign Fund; an estimate Nu. 8.5 M for the sponsored activities; Nu 50 M as deposited work to the Dzongkhag; Nu 11.3 M to Royal Bhutan Police and Nu. 14.4 M to Royal Bhutan Army.
The Certificate of Election shall be ready in two days time, and awarded to the successful Candidates on 26th of April 2013.
Election Petition period started from the 24th of April 2013 and shall end at 5.00 p.m. of 8th of May 2013. If any voter or Candidate feels aggrieved or wishes to contest any unlawful omission or commission by any person which has adverse bearing on free and fair elections, he/she can file an Election Petition related to this National Council Elections, including appealing against the decision made through the election dispute settlement system during the Election Period, Poll Day proceedings and/ or EVMs.
The Election Commission of Bhutan looks forward to working together in the conduct of the National Assembly Elections 2013, the press release stated.