English | Dzongkha Monday, July 16, 2018

To vote or not to vote?

Jan 22, 2011

Yesterday, voters in the four Thromdes of Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar went to the polls to elect a Thrompon and Thromde Tshogpas. As per the election rule, only voters who have their census in the respective Thromdes are allowed to vote. It means, in Thimphu, just over 6,000 people can vote. The town has a population of about 100,000 people. Many believe that it is not right for a fraction of the population to decide the fate of the entire town.

People from various parts of the country reside in Thimphu. Most of them have their census outside Thimphu but they have been living here for decades.

Tshering Lham is from Chhukha. She said “if the town has to progress, only 6,000 people voting is not a good idea, the majority should be allowed to vote.”

Pema Dhendup is from Trashigang but he has “lived in Thimphu for over 20 years. I understand the needs of the town that is why we should also be allowed to vote.”

The opinion is divided with voters arguing that only those who have their census registered in the Thromde should be allowed to vote.

“I think only voters with their census should be allowed to vote. I don’t think it is a good idea to allow all the residents to vote,” said a voter who has his census registered in Thimphu.

But the rules are clear. Only those who have their census registered in the four Thromdes will be allowed to vote in the respective areas.

According to Phub Dorji, the Chief Election Officer, “if they have their civil registry here, they will have their say.”

“If I stay here temporarily and tomorrow if I am transferred from here, my vote will not serve the purpose.”

According to the only international observer, you should be registered to vote.

“I think people have maintained their registration in home village because this is the case now. I am sure it is going to change,” Henrik Nielsen said.

“If you paid local taxes in your municipality of course that would be an incentive to put demands to local representatives and demand accountability also and that would be an incentive to be registered where you paid your tax.”

Election officials say despite their repeated requests even those who own land and property in Thimphu are refusing to register their census here. The question is how many people own land and property in the capital.

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