Notification on Second Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly

Under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan

The Election Commission of Bhutan, in obedience to the Royal Decree of His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo Issued on 28th of April 2013 Calling the elections to the National Assembly of the Second Parliament, hereby, in accordance with the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, notifies the Election Schedule of the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly and the details concerning Demkhongs, Letter of Intent, Nomination of Candidates, Electoral Rolls, EVMs, Polling Stations, Polling Officials, Polling Management, Security and other arrangements as follows:

(A)             Elections

  1. There shall be a Primary Round of Elections in which the registered Political Parties whose Letter of Intent (LoI) is found to be in order in all respects and accordingly accepted by the Election Commission of Bhutan shall contest in all the 20 Dzongkhags.
  2. The two Parties securing the First Highest and Second Highest total number of votes polled in the 20 Dzongkhags shall be invited by the Election Commission to nominate one Candidate each to contest the General Elections in each of the 47 National Assembly Demkhongs.

(B)              Election Schedule

  1. The Schedule of Dates and time for the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly shall be as follows:

 

Sl. No.

Event

Date

1

Issue of Royal Decree Calling the National Assembly Elections and setting the process in motion

28th of April 2013

2

ECB Notification on the National Assembly Election Schedule

29th of April 2013

3

Registered Political Parties to commence submission of Letter of Intent to contest Primary Round

4

Eligible Postal Voters to start submitting application for Postal Ballot to respective Returning Officer

5

Last date for submission of the Letter of Intent by registered Political Parties

5th of May 2013

6

Scrutiny of Letter of Intent by the Election Commission

6th of May 2013

7

Start of Application for Election Campaign Fund by Political Parties

8

Commencement of the Election Campaign

9

Release of the Election Campaign Fund

7th of May 2013

10

Last date for withdrawal from the Elections

5 p.m.

8th of May 2013

11

Returning Officer to start sending/mailing Postal Ballot

12

Last date/ time for receipt of Application for Postal Ballots by Returning Officer

13

First Public Debate for the Primary Round: Ideology

14

Second Public Debate for the Primary Round: Issue-based

10th of May 2013

15

Start of the Common Forum in all 47 Demkhongs

11th of May 2013

16

End of Election Campaign

9 a.m.

29th of May 2013

17

Last day/ time for receiving Postal Ballots

5 p.m.

30th of May 2013

18

Primary Round Poll Day

31st of May 2013

19

Counting of Results

20

Declaration of Results & Submission of the Results to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo

1st of June 2013

21

Start Filing of Nominations by Candidates of the 2 Parties securing highest and second highest total votes in the Primary Round

22

Last Date for Filing of Nominations by Candidates of the 2 Parties securing highest and second highest total votes in the Primary Round

11th of June 2013

23

Scrutiny of Nominations of Candidates

12th of June 2013

24

Candidates start submitting Application for Election Campaign Fund

25

Commencement of the Election Campaign

26

Release of the Election Campaign Fund by ECB

13th of June 2013

27

Last date for withdrawal of Candidature

14th of June 2013

28

Returning Officer to start sending Postal Ballot to Postal Voters

29

Last date of receipt of Application for Postal Ballots by Returning Officer (in case of change in postal address from the Application submitted for the Primary Round)

30

End of Election Campaign

9 a.m.

11th of July 2013

31

Last day/ time for receiving Postal Ballots

5 p.m.

12th of July 2013

32

General Elections Poll Day

13th of July 2013

33

Counting of Results

34

Declaration of Results & Submission of the Results to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo

14th of July 2013

35

Start of Election Petition Period

36

Issuance of the Certificate of Election

19th of July 2013

37

Completion of Election Petition Period

26th of July 2013

(C)             Letter of Intent for the Primary Round

  1. A registered Political Party intending to contest National Assembly Elections shall submit the LoI to the Election Commission of Bhutan as per the prescribed format given in the Booklet “Forms for Filing Letter of Intent” which can be viewed at the Election Commission office and downloadable from its website at www.election-bhutan.org.bt/LetterofIntentForms
  2. The Letter of Intent shall invariably include a Tentative List of Candidates, who meet the academic qualification for each of the 47 National Assembly Demkhongs.

(D)             Scrutiny of Letter of Intent

  1. The Election Commission shall undertake the scrutiny of the Letter of Intent filed by the Political Parties on 6th of May 2013.
  2. The Letter of Acceptance/Rejection of the Letter of Intent shall be issued at the end of the day on 6th of May 2013.

(E)              Last Date for Withdrawal

  1. The last date for withdrawal from the Elections by a Political Party shall be 5 p.m. of the 8th of May 2013 as per Section 225 of the Election Act 2008.

(F)              Nomination of Candidates for the General Elections

  1. The two Political Parties which receive the First Highest and the Second Highest number of Total Votes in the Primary Round shall be invited by the Election Commission to formally nominate one Candidate each to contest the General Elections in the 47 National Assembly Demkhongs from the accepted Tentative List submitted in the Letter of Intent.
  2. The nomination of Candidates for elections to National Assembly must be by Secret Ballot as prescribed in Section 157 of the Election Act 2008 of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

(G)             Filing of Nomination Papers by Candidates

  1. The Nomination Papers shall be submitted by a Candidate nominated to contest the General Elections starting from 1st of June 2013 with the last date for filing nominations on 11th of June 2013.
  2. The Nomination Papers must be complete, signed and countersigned as required and include the following prescribed Forms:

12.1.        Returning Officer Form No. 5A: Nomination Paper for Candidate Contesting National Assembly Election with the necessary attachments;

12.2.        Returning Officer Form No. 6: Notice of Endorsement of Nomination of the Candidate General Elections to National Assembly;

12.3.        Returning Officer Form No. 7 – General (G10) Affidavit of Candidate (Election): Affidavit  from a Royal Court of Justice including Non-Criminal Conviction Record-Cum-Clearance from the respective Court of Law that he/she has not been accused of felony in a pending case, taken cognisance by a Court of Law and charges framed;

12.4.        Asset Declaration Form No. 3;

12.5.        Tax Clearance Certificate;

12.6.        Audit Clearance Certificate;

12.7.        Security Clearance (for Elections);

12.8.        Marriage Certificate, if married;

12.9.        Letter of Attestation from the Royal University of Bhutan, endorsing the Formal University Degree Certificate; and

12.10.    Relieving order issued by Head of the Ministry/ Department/Agency (if relevant).

  1. The Drangpon of the Dzongkhag Court of Justice, signing the Affidavit, shall also be responsible to check from the Court records that the aspiring Candidate has not been convicted and received a sentence of imprisonment or does not have a pending criminal case registered against him/her in any Court of Law as required under the Electoral Laws.

(H)             Scrutiny of Nominations

  1. The respective Returning Officers shall undertake the scrutiny of the Nomination Papers filed by the Candidates under intimation to the Election Commission.
  2. The cross-checking of Asset Declarations shall be in line with the Strategy for Evaluation of the Asset Declaration of the Candidates Contesting Elections, 2012 and the Guidelines for Implementation of Sections 163-174 of the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 relating to Office of Profit, 2012 issued by the Election Commission.
  3. The screenshot (webpage) displaying the approved status of the Security Clearance, specified for election purposes, can be printed out and filed to a Returning Officer at the time of submission of Nomination Papers.
  4. Audit Clearance may be obtained as per the system put in place by the Royal Audit Authority and the print-out copy submitted at the time of submission of Nomination Papers.
  5. The attestation of the Formal University Degree shall be as per the Guidelines for Interpretation and Implementation of Sections 176 (d), 177 (d) and  178 (d) of the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 regarding the Academic Qualification Requirement for a Candidate contesting Elections to National Assembly, National Council or the  Post of Thrompon, 2012.

However, Candidates whose Nominations had been duly accepted by a Returning Officer for the First Parliamentary Elections need not produce it unless specifically instructed by an election authority.

(I)                Last Date for Withdrawal of Candidature

  1. The last date for withdrawal of candidature shall be 5 p.m. of 14th of June 2013 as per Section 225 of the Election Act 2008.

(J)               Demkhong

  1. The National Assembly Demkhongs, for which separate Returning Officers shall be appointed, are as follows:

Sl. No.

Dzongkhag

National Assembly Demkhong

Gewogs/Thromde

Email address of the Returning Officer

1

Bumthang

1

Chhoekhor_ Tang Chhoekhor ro.chhoekhor@yahoo.com
Tang
Dzongkhag Thromde

2

Chhumig_Ura Chhumig ro.urachhumig@yahoo.com
Ura

2

Chhukha

3

Bongo_ Chapchha Bjagchhog re.chapchha@yahoo.com
Bongo
Chapchha
Darla
Getana

4

Phuentshogling Doongna ro.phuentsholing@yahoo.com
Geling
Loggchina
Maedtabkha
Phuentshogling
Samphelling
Dzongkhag Thromde

3

Dagana

5

Drukjeygang_Tseza Drukjeygang ro.drukjeygang@yahoo.com
Gozhi
Karna
Khebisa
Largyab
Tseza
Tsangkha
Dzongkhag Thromde

6

Lhamoi Dzingkha_ Tashiding Karmaling ro.tashiding@yahoo.com
Dorona
Gesarling
Lhamoi  Dzingkha
Nichula
Tashiding
Tsenda-Gang

4

Gasa

7

Khamaed_ Lunana Khamaed ro.khamaed@yahoo.com
Lunana

8

Khatoed_Laya Khatoed ro.laya@yahoo.com
Laya
Dzongkhag Thromde

5

Haa

9

Bji_Kar-Tshog_Uesu Bji ro.bjikartshog@yahoo.com
Kar-tshog
Uesu
Dzongkhag Thromde

10

Sombaykha Gakiling ro.sombaykha@yahoo.com
Samar
Sangbay

6

Lhuentse

11

Gangzur_ Minjey Gangzur ro.gangzur@yahoo.com
Khoma
Kurtoed
Minjey
Dzongkhag Thromde

12

Maenbi_ Tsaenkhar  Jarey ro.tsaenkhar@yahoo.com
Maenbi
Maedtsho
Tsaenkhar

 

 

7

Monggar

13

Dramedtse_ Ngatshang Balam ro.dramedtse@yahoo.com
Chagsakhar
Dramedtse
Na-Rang
Ngatshang
Shermuhoong
Thang-Rong

14

Kengkhar_ Weringla Gongdue ro.kengkhar@yahoo.com
Jurmed
Kengkhar
Saling
Silambi

15

Monggar Chhaling ro.monggar@yahoo.com
Drepoong
Monggar
Tsakaling
Tsamang
Dzongkhag Thromde

8

Paro

16

Dokar_Sharpa Dokar ro.dokar@yahoo.com
Loong-nyi
Nagya
Sharpa

17

Lamgong_ Wangchang Dopshar-ri ro.lamgong@yahoo.com
Doteng
Hoongrel
Lamgong
Tsento
Wangchang
Dzongkhag Thromde

9

Pema Gatshel

18

Khar_Yurung Chhimoong ro.khar@yahoo.com
Chongshing
Dungmaed
Khar
Yurung

19

Nanong_ Shumar Nanong ro.shumar@yahoo.com
Shumar
Zobel
Dzongkhag Thromde

20

Nganglam Chhoekhorling ro.nganglam@yahoo.com
Dechhenling
Norboogang

10

Punakha

21

Kabisa_Talog Barp ro.talog@yahoo.com
Guma
Goenshari
Kabisa
Talog
Toepaisa
Dzongkhag Thromde

22

Lingmukha_ Toedwang Chhubu ro.lingmukha@yahoo.com
Dzomi
Lingmukha
Shelnga-Bjemi
Toedwang

11

Samdrup Jongkhar

23

Dewathang_ Gomdar Dewathang ro.gomdar@yahoo.com
Gomdar
Orong
Phuentshogthang
Wangphu
Dzongkhag Thromde

24

Jomotshangkha_ Martshala Langchenphu ro.jomotshangkha@yahoo.com
Lauri
Martshala
Pemathang
Samrang
Serthig

12

Samtse

25

Dophuchen_ Tading Duenchhukha ro.dophuchen@yahoo.com
Dophuchen
Doomtoed
Tading

26

Phuentshogpelri_Samtse Norboogang ro.samtse@yahoo.com
Phuentshogpelri
Samtse
Dzongkhag Thromde

27

Tashichhoeling Norgaygang ro.tashichhoeling@yahoo.com
Pemaling
Tashichhoeling
Tendruk

28

Ugyentse_ Yoeseltse Sang-Ngag-Chhoeling ro.yoeseltse@yahoo.com
Namgyalchhoeling
Ugyentse
Yoeseltse

13

Sarpang

29

Gelegphu Samtenling ro.gelegphu@yahoo.com
Chhuzanggang
Gelegphu
Jigme Chhoeling
Serzhong
Tareythang
Umling
Dzongkhag Thromde

30

Shompangkha     Dekiling ro.shompangkha@yahoo.com
Chhudzom
Gakiling
Senggey
Shompangkha

14

Thimphu

31

North Thimphu Thromde_ Kawang_Lingzhi_Naro_ Soe North Thimphu Thromde ro.kawanglingzhi@yahoo.com
Kawang
Lingzhi
Naro
Soe

32

South Thimphu Thromde_ Chang_Darkarla  _Ge-nyen _Maedwang South Thimphu Thromde ro.changdarkarla@yahoo.com
Chang
Darkarla
Ge-nyen
Maedwang

15

Trashigang

33

Bartsham_ Shongphu Bartsham ro.bartsham@yahoo.com
Bidoong
Yangnyer
Shongphu

34

Kanglung_ Samkhar_ Udzorong Kanglung ro.kanglung@yahoo.com
Samkhar
Udzorong
Dzongkhag Thromde

35

Radhi_Sagteng Merag ro.radhi@yahoo.com
Phongmed
Radhi
Sagteng

36

Thrimshing Kangpar ro.thrimshing@yahoo.com
Thrimshing

37

Wamrong Khaling ro.wamrong@yahoo.com
Lumang

16

Trashi  Yangtse

38

Boomdeling_ Jamkhar Boomdeling ro.boomdeling@yahoo.com
Jamkhar
Tongmajangsa
Yangtse
Dzongkhag Thromde

39

Khamdang_ Ramjar Ramjar ro.khamdang@yahoo.com
Khamdang
Toedtsho
Yalang

17

Trongsa

40

Draagteng_ Langthil Draagteng ro.draagteng@yahoo.com
Korphu
Langthil

41

Nubi_Tangsibji Nubi ro.tangsibji@yahoo.com
Tangsibji
Dzongkhag Thromde

18

Tsirang 

42

Kilkhorthang_Mendrelgang Barshong ro.kilkhorthang@yahoo.com
Patshaling
Kilkhorthang
Mendrelgang
Rangthangling
Tsholingkhar
Dzongkhag Thromde

43

Sergithang_ Tsirang Toed Doonglagang ro.tsirang@yahoo.com
Gosarling
Sergithang
Pungtenchhu
Semjong
Tsirang Toed

19

Wangdue Phodrang

44

Athang_ Thedtsho Athang ro.athang@yahoo.com
Bjednag
Darkar
Gase Tshogongm
Gase Tshowogm
Nahi
Thedtsho
Ruebisa
Dzongkhag Thromde

45

Nyishog_Saephu Dangchhu ro.nyishogsaephu@yahoo.com
Gangteng
Kazhi
Nyishog
Phangyuel
Phobji
Saephu

20

Zhemgang

46

Bardo_Trong Bardo ro.trongbardo@yahoo.com
Nangkor
Shingkhar
Trong
Dzongkhag Thromde

47

Panbang Bjoka ro.panbang@yahoo.com
Goshing
Ngangla
Phangkhar

(K)             Electoral Roll

  1. The Qualifying Date shall, in relation to the Electoral Roll for the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly, be the 1st of April 2013. Therefore, all those who are not younger than eighteen years of age as on 1st of April 2013 shall be deemed to meet the minimum age requirement to be a voter.
  2. Those born on or before 11th of June 1988 and on or after 12th of June 1948 shall be deemed to meet the legal age requirement for Candidates.
  3. Similarly, those voters whose Mitsi had been registered in a Demkhong on or before 31st of March 2012 shall be deemed to meet the durational requirement to be a voter or Candidate from that Demkhong.
  4. The draft Electoral Roll for the Parliamentary Elections 2013 was already issued on 8th of April 2013 for public inspection and to invite the public to file Claims and Objections by 18th of April 2013.
  5. No changes shall be made to the Electoral Roll for the National Assembly Elections after 30th of April 2013, thirty days before the date of Poll. However, the respective Dzongkhag Election Office shall continue to distribute the Voter Photo Identity Cards (VPIC) to those who were unable to collect it earlier even up to the Poll Day.
  6. The Final Electoral Rolls for the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly shall be published and provided to the Returning Officers by 7th of May 2013 and the Party/Candidates will be given their copies on 14th of May 2013.

(L)              Election Campaign

  1. A Political Party/Candidate may proceed with the Election Campaign upon the receipt of the acceptance of the Letter of Intent/his/her candidature by the concerned Returning Officer.
  2. The campaign for the Primary Round shall be Party-based, focussing on the Party Manifesto, Vision and Mission.
  3. The campaign in the Primary Round shall be led by the central Party leadership and the respective Candidate-designate in the accepted List of Candidates in the Letter of Intent may be appointed and authorised by the Party in each of the Demkhongs as its Representative for Election Campaign.
  4. A Political Party/Candidate shall conduct the campaign as per the Election Campaign Schedule approved by the concerned Returning Officer and copy endorsed to the concerned Observer.
  5. A Political Party/Candidate shall be liable for all acts of commission and omission of their election representatives and held responsible for the conduct of their Party workers or supporters.

Common Forum for Public Address by All Candidates

  1. The Returning Officer or Assistant Returning Officer, in consultation with the respective Election Coordinator and Security Coordinator shall arrange a Common Forum in each Gewog/Dzongkhag Thromde, for both the Primary Round and the General Elections, to provide the contesting Political Parties/Candidates equal opportunity to address the electorate while reducing the necessity to call for public meetings in the Gewog or Dzongkhag Thromde by each Candidate separately thereby avoiding inconvenience to voters of attending multiple sessions.
  2. The Common Forum for Primary Round shall be covered by the BBS as per the BBS Common Forum Coverage Schedule approved by the Election Commission for 47 Gewogs, one in each of the 47 Demkhongs.
  3. The Common Forum shall be organised as per the Guidelines for the Conduct of the Common Forum for Election Campaign, 2013.

Any other public meetings, door-to-door campaigns or rallies

  1. Any additional public meetings, door-to-door campaigns or rallies shall be subject to the provisions of the law, Code of Conduct and as per the campaign schedule and use of vehicles as approved by the Returning Officer.
  2. A door-to-door campaign may be conducted only after 7 a.m. and before 8 p.m.

Abnormal Financial Transaction

  1. All Banks or financial institutions shall be responsible to report to the Election Commission any abnormal transaction of money, including in the account of a Political Party or Candidate contesting the Elections.

Conduct of Representatives or Supporters

  1. The Party and Candidate shall be held responsible and answerable for the conduct of their representatives or supporters also including those of the nature of interference to lawful electoral works and cause to undermine law and order in a place of elections.

No Freebies

  1. A Political Party/Candidate contesting the National Assembly Elections and all concerned shall neither serve meals or refreshments, nor pay, gift or reward the general public or voters for attendance  of election campaigns or  produce, wear and distribute T-shirts and caps.

Past Attributes or Past Achievements

  1. A Political Party, Candidate, Government or Non-Governmental authority, Organisation or any individual shall not screen any audiovisual products or documentary clips or display/distribute any written or pictorial materials which attributes or depicts the past achievements of a particular aspiring Candidate whilst in Government or public service or otherwise, including the portrayal of a Candidate in any audiovisual product.

 

No Travels or Official Tours by A Member of Parliament

  1. No travels or official tours shall be undertaken by a Member of Parliament to any Demkhong other than the place of ordinary residence during the National Assembly Election Period except to cast votes on the Poll Days if he/she decides not to avail the Postal Ballot facility. If such travel to a Demkhong becomes unavoidable, he/she shall first report to the concerned Returning Officer.

No Usage of Title, Sign, Insignia or Symbol

  1. No Candidate shall use the title, designation, rank, kabney, pata, or any other sign, insignia or symbol of an office held earlier, on person, car or any personal effects as may be used during the campaign period by the Candidate, representatives or supporters.
  2. The Office of the Returning Officer and venue of the election events shall be, as far as possible, at locations that do not require the wearing of the kabney and pata.

Prohibition on Election Campaign 48 hours Before Poll

  1. Election Campaign must stop 48 hours before the hour fixed for commencement of Poll.

Election Campaign Finance

  1. Each Political Party contesting the Primary Round shall be eligible to receive Election Campaign Fund at the rate of Nu.130,000/- per Demkhong as per the revision of the Election Campaign Fund by the Election Commission, notified to the public vide Notification No. EB/PEFD/08/2012/394 dated 20th of September 2012.
  2. A Political Party contesting the Primary Round cannot exceed the election campaign expenditure ceiling of Nu. 260,000/-, in each of the 47 Demkhongs, fixed by the Election Commission and notified to the public i.e. Nu.130,000/- provided as public campaign funds by the State and up to Nu.130,000/- from the Party’s own Funds as raised through the permitted sources of income.
  3. A Candidate contesting the General Elections shall be eligible to receive Election Campaign Fund at the rate of Nu.130,000/- as per the revision of the Election Campaign Fund by the Election Commission, notified to the public vide Notification No. EB/PEFD/08/2012/394 dated 20th of September 2012.
  4. A Candidate contesting the General Elections cannot exceed the election campaign expenditure ceiling of Nu. 260,000/-, fixed by the Election Commission and notified to the public i.e. Nu.130,000/- provided as public campaign funds by the State and up to Nu.130,000/- from the Party’s Funds as raised through the permitted sources of income.
  5. The Parties and Candidates shall ensure that funds are neither received, directly or indirectly, from sources other than the permitted ones within the approved ceilings nor used, directly or indirectly, for electoral purposes.

Election Campaign Returns

  1. A Political Party Representative in each Demkhong during the Primary Round and a Candidate in the General Elections must submit weekly accounts of the campaign expenses to the National Observer for his/her scrutiny and file Election Returns within thirty days of declaration of the Election Result as per the prescribed procedures, regardless of being elected or not, failing which the name of a Political Party may be removed from the Register of Political Parties or a person may be disqualified as a Member holding elective office or Candidate in future elections.

Public Debate

  1. Two rounds of Public Debate between the contesting Political Parties in the Primary Round shall be conducted with Round One on Party Ideology and Round Two focussing on Issues.
  2. The Primary Round Public Debates shall be arranged in the Capital by the ECB Secretariat and the BBSCL.
  3. A Public Debate shall be conducted in each Demkhong between the Candidates contesting the General Elections in the respective Dzongkhags.
  4. The General Elections Public Debate between the Candidates shall be arranged by the concerned Dzongkhag Election Offices and the BBSCL for the Candidates contesting National Assembly Elections.
  5. The debates shall be conducted as per the Guidelines for Conduct of Public Debates during Parliamentary Elections, 2012.

(M)            Remaining Above Politics and Apolitical

Religious Events

  1. No religious events involving public gathering as notified earlier by the Election Commission, vide its Notification No. ECB/CEC-Notif/2012/425 dated 1st of October 2012 shall be organised or conducted during the Election Period.
  2. Religious events such as the wrathful practices and rituals such as tordog, torphang etc. will be prohibited in particular by the Political Parties or Candidates and/or their representatives and supporters.
  3. Religious Personalities shall neither vote in the elections nor participate, directly or indirectly, or give grounds to reasonably construe support, opposition or dislike of any Candidate contesting the elections.

Religious Organisations & Civil Society Organisations

  1. Religious Organisations and Civil Society Organisations shall not participate, directly or indirectly, or give grounds to reasonably construe support, opposition or dislike of any Candidate contesting the elections.

Civil Servants

  1. Civil servants shall cast their votes either in person at the designated Polling Stations or by Postal Ballot but shall not participate or attend any campaign events or meetings except for those civil servants on election duty required to observe or monitor such events unless provided otherwise in the Civil Service Laws.

Midhey Gothrips

  1. The Midhey Gothrips shall not participate, directly or indirectly, or give grounds to reasonably construe support, opposition or dislike of any Party and/or Candidate contesting the elections.

 

 

(N)             Postal Ballots

  1. The Schedule for the Postal Ballot process shall be as given in the Election Schedule above and also detailed in the Strategy for Conduct of the Second Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly.
  2. A Registered Postal Voter wishing to vote by post in the National Assembly Elections must apply for Postal Ballot to the Returning Officer with full details.
  3. The Application may be hand delivered, sent by post or scanned and emailed to the Returning Officers but faxed copies shall not be entertained.

The email addresses of the Returning Officers are as provided in the Table under (J) Demkhongs above.

  1. The Application submitted by a registered Postal Voter for Postal Ballot for the Primary Round shall be valid for the General Elections unless there is change in the postal address of the Voter as submitted for the Primary Round in which case the current address should be notified to the concerned Returning Officer.
  2. A person who applied for Postal Ballot cannot vote in person as his/her name will be included in the Postal Voters’ List and struck off from the Voters’ List sent to the Polling Station by the Returning Officer.

(O)             Voter Photo Identity Card (VPIC)

  1. Voter Photo Identity Card (VPIC) issued by the Election Commission shall be the valid document for identification of voters at the polling stations during the Elections.
  2. All voters must also carry with them the Citizenship Identity Card (CID) issued by the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.
  3. The CID shall form the basis for taking decision by the Presiding Officer in the event of any dispute related to the VPIC.
  4. Voter Identity Verification in 30 pilot and larger Polling Stations in the 20 Dzongkhags shall be aided through the use of the biometrics to reduce waiting time in the queue.

(P)              Polling Hours

  1. The Polling Hours shall be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, those voters already in the queue at 5 p.m. shall be allowed to vote with the last voter present at that time in the queue being given token No. 1.

(Q)             Electronic Voting Machines

  1. The Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) shall be used for polling in all Demkhongs.

(R)             Indelible Ink

  1. Quality indelible ink shall be used during the elections and care must be taken in applying the indelible ink as a line running from Top of the nail to the Bottom of the first joint of the Right Forefinger in case of the Primary Round and the Left Thumb in case of the General Elections.

(S)               Polling Stations

  1. The Polls for the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly shall be conducted in a total of 850 Polling Stations, the details of which are indicated in the Final Electoral Roll for the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly.

(T)              Poll Day

  1. The Poll Days, 31st of May 2013 for Primary Round and 13th of July 2013 for General Elections, shall be declared National Holidays in the 20 Dzongkhags.
  2. All employers are required by law to grant required number of days as election leave for any voter wishing to go to vote in person.
  3. No one shall carry any sort of audio/photo/video recording device in and around a Polling Station on Poll Day except those authorised to do so.
  4. No one shall carry any arms or weapons which can be used to cause bodily harm on Poll Day except by those who are authorised under the Electoral Laws for security duty.
  5. A permitted media agency or journalist shall be allowed into a Polling Station but not have access to the voting compartment when a voter is inside it and be escorted out of the Polling Station after a few minutes.

(U)             Election Result Counting, Consolidation and Declaration

  1. After the close of Polls, the Polling Stations shall become the Counting Centres where the EVM Results shall be counted immediately, as per the set procedure, and relayed to the Returning Officers and the National Counting Centre as per the SMS-Based Relaying System Rules of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2013 developed specifically for this purpose.
  2. The arrangements set out in the SMS-Based Voter Turn-Out and Election Result Relay Rules and Regulations, 2013, based on the experience of the recent National Council Elections  shall be modified for the National Assembly Elections as follows:

81.1.        The Voter Turn-Out Report, to be submitted by the Presiding Officers to the concerned Returning Officer and from the Returning Officer to the National Results Centre shall be at Mid-Day for the voter turn-out from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Poll-End Voter Turn-Out Report for the cumulative total voter turn-out from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the prescribed Forms;

81.2.        The Voter Turn-Out and the Election Results Reports from the Presiding Officer to the Returning Officer and from the Returning Officer to the National Results Centre shall be sent through fax and/or phone (and not by SMS); and

81.3.        The National Results Centre shall input the SMS information in the SMS System to generate the necessary Voter Turn-Out and Election Result Reports.

  1. The Postal Ballots shall be counted by the Returning Officers who shall consolidate it with the EVM results received from the Counting Centres and after verification submit it to the National Results Centre in the required Forms.
  2. Candidates or their representatives can witness and observe all stages of the polling and counting procedures but shall not make public statements on estimates and guesses before the official declaration of the results.

 

(V)             Election Officials

Chief Election Coordinators

  1. The Dzongdags shall be appointed as the Chief Election Coordinators; Dzongrabs/ Dungpas/ Executive Secretaries of the Dzongkhag Thromdes as the Deputy Chief Election Coordinators; and the Gewog Administrative Officers as the Assistant Chief Election Coordinators in the respective Dzongkhag, Dungkhags and Gewogs for the purpose of the conduct of the National Assembly Elections, continuing on from the National Council Elections.
  2. The Election Coordinators shall be responsible for carrying out the roles, responsibilities and duties as provided in the Electoral Laws and in accordance with the Appointment Order issued by the Election Commission on 29th of April 2013.
  3. The Chief Election Coordinator of a Dzongkhag shall be responsible to submit a comprehensive Report on the Elections, as provided in the Handbook for Election Coordinators 2013, in the concerned Dzongkhag within ten days of the declaration of the Results i.e. by 26th of July 2013.

National Observers

  1. The Election Commission shall appoint Forty-Seven National Observers in each of the 47 National Assembly Demkhongs.
  2. An Observer is vested with the authority, roles and responsibilities as per the provisions in the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations and Handbook for Observers, to observe the Elections.
  3. An Observer shall, besides submission of required reports, report any infraction requiring immediate action to the Election Commission instantly through SMS and other social media platforms.

Follow-up on Observer Reports

  1. The Policy and Planning Division of the Election Commission shall consolidate the Reports submitted by the Observers for review and decision by the Commission on a weekly basis and as and when an immediate decision is required.

Returning Officers

  1. The Election Commission shall appoint, for the National Assembly Elections, Forty-Seven Returning Officers in each of the 47 National Assembly Demkhongs and a total of Six Assistant Returning Officers, one each in Sombeykha Demkhong (Haa Dzongkhag), Kengkhar_Weringla (Monggar), Lhamoi Dzingkha_Tashiding (Dagana), Jomotshangkha_Martshala (Samdrup Jongkhar), in the Permanent Mission of Bhutan, New York and in ECB Head Office to handle the postal ballots of the overseas Postal Voters other than the United States of America and remote areas in the country.
  2. A Returning Officer is vested with full authority, roles and responsibilities as per the provisions in the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations and Handbook for Returning Officers.

Presiding Officers

  1. The appointment of Presiding Officers for the Elections shall be as per the Appointment Orders issued by the concerned Returning Officer on or after 27th of May 2013 in case of the Primary Round and 9th of July 2013 in case of the General Elections i.e. three days before the days of Poll, unless otherwise authorised.
  2. Presiding Officers are vested with the authority, roles and responsibilities as per the provisions in the Electoral laws, Rules, Regulations and Handbook for Presiding Officers.

Polling Officers

  1. The appointment of Polling Officers for the Elections shall be as per the Appointment Orders issued by the concerned Returning Officer on or after 27th of May 2013 in case of the Primary Round and 9th of July 2013 in case of the General Elections i.e. three days before the days of Poll.
  2. Polling Officers are vested with the authority, roles and responsibilities as per the provisions in the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations and Handbook for Polling Officers.

 

 

Counting Supervisors & Counting Assistants

  1. The Presiding Officers shall serve as the Counting Supervisors and a Polling Officer as the Counting Assistant authorized as such in the Appointment Orders issued by the concerned Returning Officer.
  2. Counting Supervisors and Counting Assistants are vested with the authority, roles and responsibilities as per the provisions in the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations and Handbook for Counting Supervisors and Counting Assistants.

Media Arbitrator

  1. The Media Arbitrator appointed for the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly shall be vested with the authority and be responsible for fulfilling the roles and responsibilities as provided in the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations and the Appointment Order.
  2. The Election Commission shall appoint Social Media Monitor(s) as part of the Media Arbitrator’s Team.

Legal Officers

  1. The Election Commission shall appoint, on deputation, three Legal Officers to assist the Central Dispute Settlement Body, one Legal Officer attached to the Office of the Media Arbitrator and the Dzongkhag Legal Officers to assist the respective Dzongkhag Dispute Settlement Body for the Elections.

Accounts Officers

  1. Each Dzongkhag Administration shall identify and appoint Accounts Officer(s) to be responsible for managing and keeping the accounts for all expenditures related to the National Assembly Elections 2013 in that Dzongkhag, except for the Public Election Campaign Fund which shall be handled directly by the Public Election Fund Division of the Election Commission.
  2. The finance and expenditure records and accounts shall be maintained in line with the Guidelines for the Maintenance of Financial Records and Accounts for an Election in the Kingdom of Bhutan 2013.

 

Assignment of Duty Stations

  1. The Observers, Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers, Presiding Officers, Polling Officers and Counting Supervisors and Counting Assistants shall not be posted to the Gewog where his/her Gung or Mitsi is registered.

Authorisation to Record Election Related Events

  1. The general public are hereby notified that the Officials appointed on election duty are being officially authorized to photograph, videograph and/or record any election-related event or activity which may be used as evidence in the election dispute settlement system.

(W)           Election Control Rooms

  1. Control Rooms shall be established in the Office of the Returning Officers and at the Election Commission Headquarters to effectively supervise, direct, monitor and backstop the conduct of elections.
  2. The Control Rooms shall be set up and function in the manner detailed in the Manual for Control Rooms.
  3. All concerned officials shall be provided with a copy of the National Assembly Election Directory 2013 to facilitate effective communications during the elections.

(X)             Election Code of Conduct

  1. The Election Code of Conduct shall continue to be in force from 28th of April 2013 until the completion of the Election Period i.e. till the declaration of the General Election Results on 14th of July 2013.
  2. All election officers, Candidates and voters must comply with the Election Code of Conduct and the provisions of the Electoral Laws, Rules and Regulations and Guidelines.
  3. All electoral stakeholders may use the social media for election or campaign purposes but shall ensure to abide generally by the Electoral Laws, Election Code of Conduct and specifically adhere to the requirements under the Social Media Rules of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2012.

 

(Y)             Replacement Candidate

  1. In a Demkhong where candidature has been cancelled or a Candidate dies, the replacement Candidate may be nominated or polls in that Demkhong postponed in accordance with Sections 233 to 237 of the Election Act, 2008.

(Z)              Law and Order & Deployment of Forces

  1. The Dzongdags of all twenty Dzongkhags, Executive Secretaries of Dzongkhag Thromdes and the Gewog Administrative Officers in the Gewogs shall serve as the Focal Points for all administrative matters in the Dzongkhags, Thromdes and Gewogs respectively for the election period.
  2. The Dzongdags and the Gewog Administrative Officers shall be responsible in ensuring that their respective jurisdictions are conducive and congenial for the conduct of free and fair Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly.
  3. The Royal Bhutan Police and the Royal Bhutan Army shall deploy security as per the Election Security Rules and Regulations of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
  4. The Royal Bhutan Police and the Royal Bhutan Army shall ensure appropriate coverage and deploy adequate number of men and officers so that there is no possibility of any security threat and incidences affecting the electoral process in their respective jurisdictions.
  5. The Election Security Focal Officers of the concerned Dzongkhag shall work in close coordination and cooperation with the election officers as a team towards conducting the elections smoothly.
  6. Election Security personnel shall be fully empowered and authorized, under Section 38 of the Election Act, to detain any individual or group on sufficient grounds to suspect that he/she/group is a threat to peace and harmony and free and fair elections are likely to be undermined.

(AA)       Election Dispute Settlement System

  1. The quasi-judicial role of the Election Commission during the Election Period shall be fulfilled through the election dispute settlement system which includes three levels of decision-making and appeal:

119.1.    Dzongkhag Dispute Settlement Body;

119.2.    Central Dispute Settlement Body; and

119.3.    Full Election Commission.

  1. Election Disputes may be filed with a Returning Officer, Observer, Chief Election Coordinator or the Chief Election Commissioner but must contain all details as in Election Complaint Form 1.
  2. The adjudication of Election Disputes shall be guided generally by the principles and provisions of the Laws of the land and in particular by the Electoral Laws, Election Dispute Settlement Rules and Regulations and the Election Dispute Settlement Manual.
  3. All concerned are reminded that, as notified to the public vide Notification No. ECB/NOTIF-1/2011/825 dated 16th of December 2011, a complaint related to an election shall be dealt only by an Election Dispute Settlement Body or the Election Commission.

Appeal

  1. An appeal against a decision of the Election Commission or an issue related to the Poll Day or EVM may be lodged to the High Court of the Kingdom of Bhutan on or before the last date for filing of an Election Petition.

(BB)        International Observers & Media Relations

  1. The Policy and Planning Division of the Election Commission shall coordinate and liaison all matters that concern the International Observers, National and International Media permitted to observe the Elections as provided in the National and International Observers Guidelines, Media Coverage of Elections Rules and Regulations and the Social Media Rules.

(CC)       Other Reference

  1. Election Officials shall, besides the Electoral Laws, Rules, Regulations, Guidelines, Handbooks, Orders and Notifications, also refer to the Strategy for the Conduct of the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly for additional information and guidance in the conduct of the Elections.

Now, thereof, from the day of issue of this Notification, the Election Commission of Bhutan notifies the general public on all matters relating to the Parliamentary Elections 2013: National Assembly.

Issued on the Nineteenth Day of the Third Month of the Water Female Snake Year corresponding to the 29th of April 2013.

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