August 25, 2007

303,650 registered for National Council Election

As of August 24, 303,650 voters of the 400,626 eligible voters have registered to vote for the National Council elections in December, according to the first draft Electoral Roll, which was released by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) yesterday, August 24.

“The number includes those who would turn 18 years by October 2007,” said the chief electoral registration officer, Thinley Wangchuk. However, the figures are subject to change with inclusions and exclusions before the final Electoral Roll is released in November.

Trashigang dzongkhag has the highest number with 33,977 registered voters. It has 45,915 eligible voters. Gasa dzongkhag with an eligible voter population of 2,083 has the lowest number of registered voters with 1,536 registered voters.

Darla gewog in Chhukha has the highest number of registered voters with 4,016 and Soe gewog in Thimphu has the lowest with 128, according to the draft Electoral Roll.

“The draft Electoral Roll for the National Council election was prepared polling-station-wise and gewog-wise and not constituency wise,” said Thinley Wangchuk.

This is because candidates contesting for a seat in the National Council will first have to be nominated by his or her gewog. The gewog nominated candidates will then go on to contest the election held in their dzongkhag. The winner becomes the National Council member from the dzongkhag.

As of yesterday, 24 people have declared their interest in contesting the National Council elections. Five dzongkhags: Thimphu, Gasa, Trongsa, Tsirang, and Trashiyangtse do not have a single candidate as yet.

For the National Assembly elections, the chief registration officer said the registered voters’ list would be prepared constituency-wise.

For the National Assembly elections, Gelephu constituency has the highest number of registered voters with 11,134 and Goenkhatoe-Laya constituency in Gasa has the lowest with 762 registered voters, according to election commission officials.

The draft Electoral Roll contains an up-to-date, inclusive and comprehensive list with details and photographs of all registered voters who can cast their votes in December.

ECB will send the draft Electoral Roll to all dzongkhags and gewogs for the eligible voters to verify and ensure their enrolment in the Electoral Roll. Eligible voters could verify, make objections and claims to the dzongkhag electoral office from September 1 to September 15 and submit to the ECB to incorporate changes, according to election commission officials.

“Eligible voters would have the opportunity to confirm that their names are included and details are correctly reflected in the electoral roll,” said chief election commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi. “A voter, besides correcting his or her inaccurate details, could also object to a wrongful entry of somebody else in the Electoral Roll.”

The draft Electoral Roll was prepared, based on information and photographs obtained from the national civil registry. According to ECB, the Electoral Roll, at the time of election, will be prepared into Voters’ Lists for each polling station.

Source : Kuenselonline

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