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The chinks in the ECB armour

Long after letters of intent were cleared, and tickets to enter the primary round of the National Assembly election secured, some political parties introduced more candidates they confirmed.

In case of some political parties, a few of their candidates had joined politics much before the civil service commission accepted their resignation.

Yet in another’s case, talk of swapping some of their existing candidates with new ones is rife.

What has confused some of the Bhutanese electorate is how political parties were allowed to introduce more candidates, or swap them after having submitted a list of candidates to the election commission, who allowed them into the primaries, based on it.

One political party was recently disqualified because it failed, or was too honest to admit that it did not have candidates in two of the 47 constituencies.

While the other parties, it seems, happened to be in a similar situation, but were smart enough to spot holes in the electoral laws that they used to their advantage.

All they wanted was a candidate that fit the election commission-set criteria, like having the required qualification attested by the royal university, besides the need to have enough finance, and members from all the dzongkhags.

This is how it is with politics and that is fair.  There just is no room for the too straight and narrow.

The other question on people’s minds is how the election commission let slip a candidate, who had joined a party without even completing its resignation procedure.

Many a teacher, doctor and other civil servants wanted to join one of the four political parties but could not because their resignation were not accepted, or so it was deemed.

Had they used a similar ruse, they would have had their way too.

Well, such shortcomings in the electoral laws, which as much as election commission officials scanned, so had political parties found ways to manoeuvre around, are good.

It allowed more room for political parties to play, when finding candidates for each of the 47 constituencies was a major problem.

While it might seem like an advantage today, it could graduate into something undesirable in future.

Therefore, drawing from this lesson, it is only pertinent that plugging the existing loopholes should strengthen the electoral law.

It ought also to be a little more specific, in that the scrutiny of the letters of intent should go beyond just candidates and their academic transcripts the royal university attests.

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