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Update on Election Disputes

The Election Commission of Bhutan, in continuation to the Notification No.: ECB/CEC-04/2018/615 dated 9th of September 2018, would like to update the general public on the election disputes related to the Primary Rounds of the National Assembly Election 2018.

Case #3: PDP query on rampant distribution of Party Cards by DNT and misinformation to voters
The query was filed on 30th August 2018 and was investigated by DEDSB and findings forwarded to the CEDSB on 6th September 2018.

A hearing with both the parties was held on 8th September 2018 and the CEDSB dismissed the case in a written reasoned decision on 8th of September 2018 as the Party Membership Cards are permitted under the laws and the allegation of misinformation could not be substantiated.

Other issues and concern related to registration/deregistration of members and registration fee that emerged in the process are to be followed up by the Public Election Fund Division with the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa in due course of time.

Case #5: A complaint lodged by General Secretary of DPT against Dasho Dr. Sonam Kinga, on post shared in latter’s Facebook Page Account
As no appeal to the decision of CEDSB was received, the decision was implemented with post being removed by the Respondent and a cautionary note issued to him and DPT denouncing violence especially during elections.

Case #6: DPT Trashi Yangtse Dzongkhag Coordinator Chorten Tshering’s complaint against Neten Dorji regarding misuse of Voter’s List
The Election Commission reviewed the case in accordance with the Election Dispute Settlement System and dismissed the case due to lack of substantive evidence to prove the allegation.

Case #7: DPT Dzongkhag Coordinator lodged a complaint against Kezang of Trashi Yangtse Dzongkhag regarding conversation in WeChat group
The Election Commission dismissed the case after careful examination of evidences submitted and considering all the material facts available.

Case #8: Complaint lodged by Ugyen Tsechup against “Jigs Rimpoche” regarding social media post against Singye Group of Company (P) Ltd over affiliation with DNT
The Election Commission found that the case was between two persons who are neither a Candidate nor representative of a party contesting election and as the act of the Respondent is not contended to have maligned or disadvantaged the complainant in electoral terms, there is no locus standi for an election dispute under the Election Dispute Settlement System.

However, the issue and concern that has emerged, related to the alleged financial contribution to a political party, shall be followed up by the Public Election Fund Division with the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa in due course of time without necessarily having to attempt to reveal the identity of a fake social media user based on the said allegation.

Case #9: Report on Organizing of Meeting and Serving Dinner by People’s Democratic Party
The report on the President of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s meeting at the Dzongkhag Guest House in Pema Gatshel on 4th of September 2018 and dinner being served to all including 13 non-Party members of PDP was filed through the election machinery.

The Election Commission based on the response to Show-Cause Notice by PDP head office based in the Thimphu, Report received and additional information from the Dzongkhag Election Officials found:

1. The Meeting, while held from 7 pm to 9pm, was observed and reported by the Observer as the Party meeting and not a campaign activity. It was reportedly an informal gathering upon the late arrival of the Party President at the Guest House.

2. However, dinner was joined by all, including the 13 non-party members out of an approximate total of 65 people. Therefore, the ECB issued a caution to the PDP in pursuance to Rule 29.1.5 of the EDSRR 2018.

Case #10: Anonymous Complaints
Four anonymous complaints that were received by the Election Commission are as follows:

a. The first anonymous complaint alleges that DNT and DPT are resorting to a illegal activities in Lhuentse Dzongkhag. It alleged that DNT is distributing lot of money, mobile vouchers and other gratifications to the people. It also alleged that Local Government members and Civil Servants are influencing voters to support both DNT and DPT in Lhuentse Dzongkhag.

b. The other anonymous complaint was lodged on the allegations of bribing and conducting meeting at night by DPT in Thridangbi, Monggar, where a Tshogpa also attended the meeting. It also mentions that a religious personality is influencing people to vote for DPT. It also alleges that the Ngatshang Gup and Sherimung Gup are supporting DPT.

c. The third complaint is against DPT and DNT. It is alleged that DPT is campaigning at night in Thimphu and DNT coordinators are bribing people with cash of Nu.3000, mobile voucher and mug with DNT logo. It also alleged that some other DNT coordinators are also bribing people with minimum of Nu.2000 and recharge vouchers.

d. The fourth complaint is an email from a “methosaydon@gmail.com” alleging Kanglung Gup of political activities in favour of PDP.

Necessary material facts and evidence to substantiate the allegations were missing to pursue the complaints further notwithstanding the non-fulfilment of criteria set for election complaint under Rule 9.4 of the EDSRR, 2018 rendering anonymous complaints to be dismissed.

Case #11: Query on meeting groups of voters in clustered village in Dramedtse_Ngatshang Demkhong during door-to-door campaign lodged by PDP against DPT
The complaint was dismissed as it had been permitted, for all four Parties, by ECB in the interest of time and practicality for both electorate and Party Representatives.

 

Released for public information

 

(Chogyal Dago Rigdzin)
Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan

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