DNT and DPT will go for gen­eral elec­tion next month

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

With the for­mal dec­la­ra­tion of the re­sults of the pri­mary round polls yes­ter­day, the two po­lit­i­cal par­ties who se­cured the high­est and sec­ond high­est votes will go for gen­eral elec­tion on 18th Oc­to­ber next month.

The two po­lit­i­cal par­ties Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa ( DNT) and Druk Phuen­sum Tshogpa ( DPT) will go for gen­eral elec­tion for the 3rd Par­lia­men­tary elec­tion for national as­sem­bly af­ter se­cur­ing 92,722 votes that ac­counts to 31.85 per­cent and 90,020 votes which ac­counts to 30.92 per­cent re­spec­tively.

While Bhutan KuenNyam Party ( BKP) se­cured 28,473 votes that ac­counts to 9.78 per­cent and Peo­ple's Demo­cratic Party ( PDP) se­cured 79,883 votes that ac­counts to 27.44 per­cent.

A to­tal of 2, 91, 098 ( 1, 47, 070 fe­males and 1, 44, 028 males) vot­ers casted their votes, 66.36 per­cent of the to­tal reg­is­tered vot­ers in the coun­try, turned out and cast their votes for the party of their choice and put their in­di­vid­ual sig­na­tures on the Poll day which will be recorded in the his­tory of the Na­tion as the Third Pri­mary Round Polls held un­der The Con­sti­tu­tion of the King­dom of Bhutan.

Of the to­tal 1, 47, 070 fe­male, a to­tal of 94,566 fe­males casted their votes through elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chine ( EVM) and 87,952 males casted through EVM out of 1,44,028 males.

The press re­lease from the ECB states that, two rounds of Pub­lic De­bate of the Party Pres­i­dents and Vice Pres­i­dents were or­gan­ised. In ad­di­tion, the Bhutan Broad­cast­ing Ser­vice ( BBS) also hosted and aired the Demkhong Dre­durs in each of the 47 Demkhongs for the ben­e­fit of the gen­eral pub­lic.

All the Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties also con­ducted sep­a­rate meet­ings and door to door cam­paigns dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod.

Apart from the meet­ings called by in­di­vid­ual Par­ties in the Dzongkhags, a to­tal of 479 Com­mon Fo­rums were or­ga­nized for cam­paign by all Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties, where a to­tal of 40,370 (20,535 fe­male and 19,835 male) vot­ers at­tended.

A to­tal of Nu.28.200M was pro­vided by the State to all the can­di­dates with Nu.1, 50, 000 per Demkhong per Party for fi­nanc­ing the Pri­mary Round Elec­tion Cam­paign. The Par­ties are also per­mit­ted to spend an equiv­a­lent amount from their Party cof­fers, the bank bal­ances hav­ing been de­clared dur­ing the fil­ing of the Letter of In­tent.

The Polls on 15th of Septem­ber 2018 were con­ducted in 865 Polling Sta­tions in the Coun­try on the EVM and the Postal Bal­lot Sys­tem in­cluded the Con­ven­tional Postal Bal­lot method, Postal Bal­lot Vot­ing at the 65 Postal Bal­lot Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Booths and 18 Mo­bile Booths.

A to­tal of 5,250 Of­fi­cials, ex­clud­ing Se­cu­rity Per­son­nel and the per­ma­nent of­fi­cials of the ECB, were de­ployed for the National As­sem­bly Elec­tions 2018.

The press re­lease also states that the timely ad­ju­di­ca­tion of dis­putes and ad­dress­ing of the com­plaints and al­le­ga­tions as per the laws are key fac­tors that con­trib­ute to free and fair elec­tions and en­sur­ing pub­lic trust in the in­tegrity of the sys­tem and out­comes. All the 11 cases re­ceived by the Com­mis­sion were re­solved be­fore Poll Day and the gen­eral pub­lic duly in­ti­mated on the cases and the de­ci­sions.

Dur­ing the Poll Day last Satur­day, the press re­lease states that no ma­jor prob­lems were en­coun­tered in the con­duct of the Polls.

How­ever, there were a few cases of those who turned up to vote at the Polling Sta­tion but could not vote due to their names be­ing reg­is­tered as Postal Vot­ers and not on the Polling Sta­tion Voter's List al­though op­por­tu­nity for claims and ob­jec­tions to the Elec­toral Roll and Vot­ers Lists had been pro­vided.

Ini­tially, a few Polling Sta­tions en­coun­tered “ER­ROR” read­ing due to a but­ton re­main­ing in pressed/jammed po­si­tion. These could be im­me­di­ately ad­dressed as per the rem­edy in the EVM Man­ual. In 5 Polling Sta­tions, they de­cided to use the spare EVMs with no dif­fi­culty or is­sues en­coun­tered in prop­erly count­ing the bal­lots cast in the orig­i­nal and the spare EVMs. These were fully wit­nessed by the Party rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Polling Sta­tions.

While, the EVM at Thangza Polling Sta­tion in Lu­nana Ge­wog en­coun­tered prob­lem around 3pm dur­ing the read­ing of the voter turnout when the dis­play sec­tion could not read the num­bers and no records were found. It was de­cided to con­duct a re-poll us­ing the spare EVM ma­chine as most of the vot­ers re­side in the vicin­ity. The vot­ers who had cast their votes ear­lier were called again as new polls be­gan there­after and the Poll time was ex­tended and the re­sults were de­clared around 8 pm. This process was wit­nessed by the Polling Of­fi­cers, the Se­cu­rity Of­fi­cial, a Can­di­date and vot­ers there.

There were a few cases where the re­li­gious per­son­al­ity sta­tus of vot­ers were fol­lowed up and con­firmed by Head Of­fice against the National Coun­cil Elec­toral Roll and were either fa­cil­i­tated to cast their vote or re­gret­ted as they have to re­vise the sta­tus in the cen­sus records. As in the past, Voter Photo Iden­tity Cards (VPICs) had to be fa­cil­i­tated for vot­ers who turned up with­out.

Mean­while, the press re­lease also stated some of the new fea­tures in the 2018 Elec­tions that in­cludes the cus­tom­ized strat­egy and work plan for each Dzongkhag de­vel­oped within national frame­work fo­cus­ing on voter turnout much be­fore the elec­tion year was suc­cess­fully drawn and im­ple­mented in the 20 Dzongkhags; in­tro­duc­tion of Postal Bal­lot Fa­cil­i­ta­tion and Mo­bile Booths for reg­is­tered postal vot­ers and num­ber of mem­bers in polling team re­vised and re­duced in view of ex­pe­ri­ence gained over time and based on num­ber of vot­ers as­signed to a Polling Sta­tions;

Another new fea­tures in­cludes de­vel­op­ment of Stan­dard Op­er­at­ing Pro­ce­dures (SOP) for key pro­ce­dures and po­si­tions; fo­cus on reach­ing those who had not been able to vote in the past in­clud­ing aged, disabled etc; stream­lin­ing fi­nan­cial and pro­cure­ment sys­tems for timely and pru­dent de­liv­ery and use of elec­tion ma­te­ri­als; de­vel­op­ment of more apps to dig­i­tize im­por­tant pro­ce­dure in­clud­ing re­sult- re­lay and con­sol­i­da­tion to make it more ef­fi­cient and er­ror­free; and pur­chase of 1000 new EVM to en­sure smooth elec­tions.

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