ECB conducts Dhamngoi Zomdu again in three chiwogs

Campaigning for the Third Local Government Election starts today. But for three chiwogs, it is Dhamngoi Zomdu again. While two former candidates who were initially selected from Dhamngoi Zomdu were disqualified, a selected gup candidate from Tsirang passed away last week.

The scrutiny of the nomination of candidates on Tuesday disqualified a few selected candidates across the country. However, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) conducted the second round of Dhamngoi Zomdu only in three chiwogs that had more than one nominee contesting for the post. As per an election official, each chiwog is entitled to a Gup nominee and a Mangmi nominee if there is any. However, he said there is no point in conducting a Dhamngoi Zomdu again in chiwogs that have lost their lone candidates during the scrutiny.

“Wherever there is more than one candidate who contested at the Zomdu, we have given the opportunity to nominate one more time but if the nominee who is disqualified at the scrutiny is the only candidate from a chiwog, we did not re-conduct the Zomdu,” said Phub Dorji, the Director of the ECB.

In Changyul_Tashijong-Lungsilgang chiwog in Guma Gewog of Punakha, the Dhamngoi Zomdu for Gup was conducted after the contestant withdrew his candidature prior to a day of the scrutiny. He was found to have an affiliation with a political party. The former contestant said he contested for the post of Gup earlier after obtaining confirmation from the ECB of his deregistration from a political party. However, he says his Gewog Administration has found out that his deregistration process is not yet completed.

“According to the record I got from the Election Commission, it was mentioned the date of deregistration as November 12 2020. Accordingly, I have shown this record to the Returning officer and they told me that I can contest for the nomination. Doubtful with the record, I again went to the ECB office in Thimphu. By then, they told me that they will have to base it on the letter received from the party.  In that record, the deregistration date was reflected as December 11 2020,” said Tashi, a Former Gup Candidate from Changyul_Tashijong_Lungsilgang chiwog.

According to the ECB, the confusion of the date of deregistration sprung from the misinterpretation of reading date formats.

“Some people follow the American style and some people follow the British style. So there might be a different interpretation of the dates because what RO is crosschecking is the same that we have shared,” said Phub Dorji, the ECB’s Director.

However, he said the candidate should be in the position to know when he actually deregistered from a political party.

As for Dungphu-Shingchongri chiwog in Dechhenling Gewog of Pema Gatshel, only one candidate participated in the Dhamngoi Zomdu today. He was selected with the majority of yes votes. The previously selected candidate was disqualified as he couldn’t produce security clearance.

And the voters in Sergithang-Maed chiwog in Sergithang Gewog of Tsirang will have to again attend the Dhamngoi Zomdu tomorrow. The Dhamngoi Zomdu ended in a tie today for the two gup candidates. The selection process was initiated again following the demise of the selected gup candidate last week.

As per the Commission, the most common reasons for disqualification during the scrutiny was contestants with political party affiliation, lack of documents like security and audit clearance. The Commission said these issues happened despite briefing the nominees about the required documents throughout the whole election procedure.

Samten Dolkar

Edited by Sonam

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