Dangchu gup by-elec­tion on 6 March

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The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB) has no­ti­fied that the by-elec­tion for Dangchu Gup in Wang­due Dzongkhag will be held on 6 March to fill the va­cant post.

The Dangchu Ge­wog Gup post was ren­dered va­cant when the for­mer gup, Sonam Dorji, re­signed in Novem­ber, soon af­ter the sec­ond Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (LG) elec­tion to pur­sue higher stud­ies in Aus­tralia.

The zomdu will be called by the Dzongkhag elec­toral of­fice for the pur­pose of se­lect­ing can­di­dates to con­test in the elec­tions.

Zom­dus in each chi­wog for the se­lec­tion of can­di­dates will be called on 14 Fe­bru­ary by the dzongkhag elec­toral of­fice to en­sure that no more than two can­di­dates from each chi­wog con­test in the by­elec­tion.

Elec­tronic Vot­ing Ma­chines (EVM) will be pro­vided to the chi­wog zomdu.

A reg­is­tered voter who is born af­ter 14 Fe­bru­ary 1952 and be­fore 14 Fe­bru­ary 1992 will be deemed to meet the max­i­mum age re­quire­ment of 65 years for nom­i­na­tion to be a can­di­date for the by-elec­tion.

The can­di­dates will have 16-days for elec­tion cam­paigns un­til 48 hours be­fore the poll day. The can­di­dates can­not ex­ceed cam­paign ex­pen­di­ture of more than Nu.50,000 in line with the sec­tion 59 of the Pub­lic Elec­tion Fund Act 2008.

The ECB also stated that the with­drawal of can­dida- ture, re­cip­i­ent of ap­pli­ca­tion for postal bal­lot and re­turn­ing of­fi­cer (RO) to ini­ti­ate send­ing postal bal­lot to reg­is­ter postal vot­ers will be closed on 17 Fe­bru­ary.

How­ever, if there is no can­di­date af­ter the last day for filling nom­i­na­tion of can­di­dates, the elec­tion will be post­poned un­til fur­ther no­tice. If there is only one can­di­date af­ter the last date of fil­ing of nom­i­na­tion, an un­con­tested elec­tion will be con­ducted.

ECB has no­ti­fied that the RO in con­sul­ta­tion with the re­spec­tive elec­tion co­or­di­na­tor and se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tor will ar­range a com­mon forum in chi­wogs and fur­ther in the vil­lage if found nec­es­sary and fea­si­ble to pro­vide.

The dzongkhag elec- tion of­fice will con­tinue to dis­trib­ute the voter photo iden­tity card (VPIC) to those who were un­able to col­lect it ear­lier even up to the poll day.

The min­is­ters, MPs, of­fi­cials, the mem­ber of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and other elected LG lead­ers are not al­lowed to cam­paign di­rectly or in­di­rectly for any can­di­date.

Be­sides, the of­fi­cial tours and trips un­der­taken by min­is­ters and MPs to dif­fer­ent con­stituen­cies are re­stricted dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod ex­cept to cast votes on the poll day if they wish to vote.

The Bhutanese cit­i­zens who are not younger than 18 years of age will be deemed to meet the min­i­mum age re­quire­ment to be a voter.

No one is al­lowed to carry any arm or weapon, au­dio, photo, video and record­ing de­vice in and around a polling sta­tion on the poll day ex­cept those who are au­tho­rized.

The poll day will be de­clared as a pub­lic hol­i­day in the con­stituency con­cerned and all em­ploy­ers are re­quired by law to grant re­quired num­ber of days as elec­tion leave for any reg­is­tered vot­ers from the demkhong who wish to vote in per­son.

The cost of con­duct­ing by-elec­tion for Dangchu gup is about Nu.0.24mil­lion.

The Dangchu Ge­wog con­sists of five chi­wogs. EVMs will be used for polling in all the polling sta­tions. The vot­ing hours start from 9-am and ends at 5-pm.

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