More than 3500 Bhutanese liv­ing abroad reg­is­ter for postal bal­lot

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Chen­cho Dema

Though there are no recorded sta­tis­tics re­veal­ing how many Bhutanese are liv­ing and study­ing abroad cur­rently, more than 3,500 of them in­clud­ing 1,879 male and 1,689 fe­male have reg­is­tered with the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB) for postal bal­lot.

The postal bal­lots from the elec­tion com­mis­sion were sent on Au­gust 24.

Even the com­mis­sion does not have records of Bhutanese liv­ing abroad.

On Septem­ber 14, the postal bal­lots have to reach to the con­cerned Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cer of the par­tic­u­lar Dzongkhag be­fore 5pm.

The postal bal­lots have been posted via Bhutan Post and dis­patched ac­cord­ingly to the ad­dresses of the in­di­vid­u­als.

Talk­ing to Busi­ness Bhutan, Kuenga Tashi, a former em­ployee of BBS cur­rently in Aus­tralia said he sent his postal bal­lot al­ready. “Vot­ing is the most sa­cred duty in a democ­racy and I voted for the party that may best serve the king, coun­try and the peo­ple,” he said.

He lives in Perth with his wife and son.

Samten Yeshi who is study­ing cul­tural her­itage pol­icy, plan­ning and man­age­ment in Cen­tral Euro­pean Univer­sity, Bu­dapest, Hun­gary said that he also send his vote but it was not easy to find a wit­ness.

“Es­pe­cially where I live, there are not many Bhutanese; only three and they are not near to each other. When you sent a postal bal­lot, you have a form where you fill your per­sonal de­tails and an­other Bhutanese has to sign it say­ing it is true.”

He also men­tioned that it is ev­ery ci­ti­zen’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to par­take in choos­ing the right gov­ern­ment and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives when given the op­por­tu­nity in a free and fair elec­tion.

Phub Dorji work­ing in the USA said: Even if my vote does not mat­ter, I feel it’s my share and re­spon­si­bil­ity. Re­gard­ing vot­ing, de­spite liv­ing away from home, it’s ev­ery ci­ti­zen’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to take part in ev­ery elec­tion.”

San­gay Wangmo who lives in Perth with her hus­band said she and her hus­band al­ready sent their postal bal­lots to the con­cerned Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cer. “No mat­ter where I stay, I will ex­er­cise my right.”

“I have al­ready sent my bal­lot along with my wife,” said Sonam Tob­gay liv­ing in Perth with his wife and daugh­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to him the num­ber of Bhutanese peo­ple liv­ing in the USA is about 2,500 though there is no ex­act record.

Sec­tion 331 of the Elec­tion Act spec­i­fies that those el­i­gi­ble for postal bal­lots are civil ser­vants, armed forces, peo­ple on spe­cial gov­ern­ment duty, diplo­mats and their de­pen­dents, stu­dents and trainees and any other group spec­i­fied by the ECB. The Com­mis­sion has al­lowed over­seas Bhutanese, the Ho­tel As­so­ci­a­tion and Tour Op­er­a­tors as­so­ci­a­tion’s mem­bers postal bal­lots due to their na­ture of work.

De­spite no­ti­fi­ca­tions from ECB to reg­is­ter for the postal bal­lots, some of the peo­ple liv­ing abroad have failed to reg­is­ter due to var­i­ous rea­sons.

One among them is Yeshi Cho­den based in Dubai who could not reg­is­ter due to her busy sched­ule. Sim­i­lar was the case with Karna Ga­ley cur­rently based in Aus­tralia.

Phuspa Nirola work­ing in Qatar did not reg­is­ter for the postal bal­lot say­ing that she was not aware about the pro­ce­dure but she does not re­gret it as she is not aware about the po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Dorji Dukpa based in New York said he did not reg­is­ter as he did not get time to reg­is­ter and more­over he said he is not in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics or vot­ing. “There is no ben­e­fit for us es­pe­cially peo­ple liv­ing abroad and politi­cians seems least in­ter­ested in us too,” he said.

Kin­ley Nam­gay study­ing in Bris­bane, Aus­tralia said he was too im­mersed in his stud­ies and work to reg­is­ter for postal bal­lot.

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