English | Dzongkha Friday, September 21, 2018

Less than half of Bhutanese voters exercised franchise

Apr 24, 2013

Less than Half VotersThe voter turnout for National Council election this year was at 45.16 percent, less than eight percent as compared to 2007 NC elections. This means less than half of Bhutanese voters exercised their franchise to elect 20 Councillors.

Many people maintain that the weather, more than anything, deterred the voters from going to the polls. On the other hand, the Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, said during the National Council election in 2007, people thought that it could not be too important as National Assembly. “So maybe similar mentality would still be prevailing and above all we have to accept the fact that weather on the eve of the day was not too favourable.”

Dasho also said some people decided for some reason that they cannot go and that they won’t go to vote. “So when you are psychologically not prepared, no matter what 9’o clock weather was, you already made up your mind. That was probably the reason.”

However, the Chief Election Commissioner said this would not deter the commission from putting mechanisms to enhance participation in future elections. For instance, the initiative- Network of Bhutanese for Democratic Bhutan- is expected to bring a wider network of intellectuals and tapping their ideas on how effective the elections can be made or establishing ERTC or electoral resources and training centre- a class room exercise style – that will carry out voter education and information dissemination.

Meanwhile, out of 379,819 registered voters in the 20 dzongkhags, 171,544 voters exercised their franchise, which means less than half of the voters or about 45 percent voters elected the Councillors yesterday. In 2007 National Council elections, 53 percent voter turnout was recorded.

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