People in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan were cementing their young democracy Tuesday by voting in the nation’s second parliamentary election. The remote nation of 700,000 had its first election in 2008 after the king voluntarily reduced the monarchy’s role in running the country. A total of 67 candidates were competing Tuesday for the 20 elected seats in the 25-member upper house. The five remaining seats are filled by royal appointment. The candidates were running without party affiliation. However, five parties will contest polls for the more influential lower house, expected in June. Only two parties contested the 2008 election, when the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won a landslide victory.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan conjures up images of peace and tranquility. Indeed, it is a country of serene and striking geographic beauty. But this setting brings with it an isolation that kept Bhutan politically sealed off from the rest of the world as an absolute monarchy until 2008, when it became a democracy. Over the next couple of months Bhutan will take steps towards further consolidating its fledgling democracy. Its people will vote first for the National Council (the upper house of parliament) and then the National Assembly (the lower house). This is the second time in their country’s history that the Bhutanese will be voting in parliamentary elections. Voting for the 25-member Council will take place on April 23. While voting dates for the more influential Assembly are yet to be announced, they are expected in June.
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan will go to polls for the second time in its history next month for elections which will consolidate its transformation to democracy, according to a royal decree. A vote for the 25-member upper house will take place on April 23, said the decree which was posted online. An election date for the larger and more influential lower house has yet to be announced but is widely expected in May. “It is important that all voters take their right and duty seriously, exercise their franchise and choose the most competent and deserving candidate as their representative,” said the decree.
Five years ago the remote Himalayan state of Bhutan turned from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, making it the youngest democracy on earth. Looking back at the developments since the transition, the democratization of Bhutan was a success story despite a few shortcomings. Come March 2013, and Bhutan will be set fair for its second round of parliamentary elections. While the past five years have been an exploratory phase for Bhutan, in terms of experimenting with and internalizing democratic norms, they nevertheless bear witness to the fact that the formal structures of democracy have indeed taken root in Bhutan. The criteria for assessing the success of democratization towards the end of the fifth year should be gauging the spread of the ‘effective components’ of democracy. One still often comes across the description of “democracy as a gift” (kidu) from the King, but any kind of analysis reveals that the process of democratization has indeed given rise to various stakeholders in the internal politics of Bhutan. How far the internal democratic space impinges on Bhutan’s foreign policy orientations is yet to be seen in the years to come.
Bhutan: Only electronic voting machine error complaints, and appeals, fall within the purview of the Bhutan judiciary | kuenselonline
The judiciary, henceforth, will not accept any election-related dispute that crops up during the election period, except complaints pertaining to error of electronic voting machine. The election laws, according to a recent election related guideline issued to all courts in Bhutan by the Supreme Court (SC), were enacted barring the jurisdiction of the courts in all election matters during the election period. “Therefore, any problems or complaints related to the election period must be decided by the election dispute settlement bodies at the district, national and the election commission, with the opportunity to appeal to the court only as a last resort,” stated the guideline signed by chief justice Sonam Tobgye.
The election dispute settlement rules and regulations, 2009 defines Election Period as the period beginning on the day of issue of notification, and ending with the declaration of results. It also states that “A court of law shall, in order to provide an uninterrupted election process in the kingdom, not have jurisdiction to question the legality of any action taken or of any decision given by the commission or its officers or by any other person under this rules and regulations, during the election period.”
“Since the provisions of the Election Act, 2008 and the election settlement rules and regulations ousted the jurisdiction of the court, it is the responsibility of the election dispute settlement bodies to accept and decide any problems or complaints related to the election period,” a SC justice said.
Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr. S. Y. Quraishi visited Bhutan from 16th – 18th September 2011 at the invitation of his counterpart Dasho Kunzang Wangdi for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two Election Commissions. He was accompanied by Akshay Rout, Director General.
The two Chief Election Commissioners signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a period of five years to facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience, information, material, expertise and technical knowhow, training of personnel and development of human resources in electoral matters and also for taking up joint initiatives and providing assistance to others.
The reelection for post of Punakha’s Goenshari gup yesterday ended with Kinley Dorji winning by 16 votes over his opponent Kinley Wangchuk. The candidates were caught in a deadlock situation in the recent local government elections securing 85 votes each.
In the tiebreaker election yesterday, Kinley Dorji, 36, from Zhelngoesa chiwog secured 157 votes. Kinley Dorji said he was delighted with the result. “I’m thankful to people for having faith in me,” the father of three said. “And it will, no doubt, be a huge responsibility.”
In the first Dzongkhag Tshogdu meeting after the local government elections, the four elected gups of Bumthang elected the chairperson and vice chairperson yesterday.
Chokor gup elect and the former chairperson of the DYT was re-elected as the chairperson after winning five votes, one more than his opponent, Ura gup Dorji Wangchuk. The nine tshogdu members used an electronic voting machine to vote. Thromdey member,Karma Legden, was chosen as the vice chairperson through a “Yes” and “No” votes.