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The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) received eight cases related to the primary round campaign period as of yesterday evening. The commission gave its decision on two cases, which are in appeal period, two are under review, one case was dismissed, one withdrawn and two still under consideration.

ECB receives eight election complaints to date

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) received eight cases related to the primary round campaign period as of yesterday evening.

The commission gave its decision on two cases, which are in appeal period, two are under review, one case was dismissed, one withdrawn and two still under consideration.

In a press release the commission issued yesterday, it states that the first complaint was against the vice president of Bhutan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Tandin Wangchuk, by an anonymous person.

It stated the commission received a query on August 24 from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the complaint against Tandin Wangchuk, alleging that he was initiating and mobilising funds and gathering financial support for Druk Phuensum Tshogpa.

ECB had also received the same complaint on July 6.

The press release stated it shared with ACC a chronology of actions taken by ECB on the complaint. It, however, did not share details of the actions taken.

It states that the commission found inconsistencies in the submissions made by Tandin Wangchuk and it had notified him that he shall be held accountable in accordance with the Election Act should any contradictions to his responses come to light in the future.

The second case is a complaint against Trashigang dzongkhag tshogdu thrizin, who is the Kanglung gup, alleging him of promoting a political party.   

ECB stated that the mobile phone number provided by the complaint, upon verifying from Bhutan Telecom turned out to be a number that had been inactive for the last three years.

It stated that the thrizin was also questioned on the allegations to establish the facts.

The press release stated that the dzongkhag election dispute settlement body (DEDSB), after considering the allegations against the few facts that could be established, dismissed the complaint on August 30.

The third case, according to the press release, was a complaint lodged by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) alleging that DNT was distributing party cards and misinforming the voters on August 30.

The DEDSB investigated the case and forwarded the findings to the central election dispute settlement body (CEDSB) on September 6. The press release stated that a hearing was conducted with both the parties on September 8 and a written decision awarded. The case is in the appeal period.

The fourth case, according to the press release, is a complaint received from a dzongkhag. ECB did not specify the dzongkhag and what the complaint was about.

The fifth case, it stated was lodged by Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) against Dasho Sonam Kinga for his Facebook post.

The sixth case is also lodged by DPT dzongkhag coordinator, Chorten Tshering, against a registered PDP member, Neten Dorji, alleging him of misusing voter’s list by collecting individual mobile numbers and noting it in the voter’s list and instilling fear in people by telling them that only those who gave the number will receive support.

The press release stated that after the DEDSB investigated the case, the complainant asked to withdraw the case. The case is under review as the DEDSB dissolved on September 5.

The seventh case, according to the press release, is a complaint lodged by DPT dzongkhag coordinator in Trashiyangtse against an individual, Kezang of Trashiyangtse, for referring to DPT as a ‘ngolop’ party in a WeChat Group named “Khamdang Ramjar PDP 2018.”

The press release states that the DEDSB investigated the case and forwarded its report to CEDSB. “The case is under review.”

The eighth case is a complaint lodged by Ugyen Tsechup against an anonymous Facebook user, Jigs Rinpoche, for a post against Singye Group of Company Ltd. over its affiliation with DNT.

The press release states that Ugyen Tsechup complained that the Facebook user posted that Singye Group of Company and Ugyen Tshechup are financing DNT.

The complaint stated that it has led to many enquires by their business partners from abroad, thereby losing credibility and competency of the company.

The press release also states that the office has forwarded the case to CEDSB and the case is under review.

ECB officials said they would share the details of the case today.

Meanwhile, the returning officer of Gelephu constituency in Sarpang, Tshering Wangchuk, said that while they did not receive any formal complaints, they are looking into a complaint that was posted by an anonymous Facebook user in Bhutanese News and Forum group alleging that the family members of DNT’s candidate of the constituency was bribing people.

“We are asking people and trying to find out if the allegations are true,” he said. “People can just call us and lodge complaint.”

Tashi Dema

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