The Election Commission of Bhutan has embarked on the post-parliamentary elections review process which is being undertaken in the form of the Learning from Experience Programme (LEP) for Second Parliamentary Elections. This process follows the completion of the conduct of the Second Parliamentary Elections, the preparations for which began as early as 2012 and completed with the bye-election in the Nanong_Shumar National Assembly Demkhong in November 2013.
The LEP is an important tool of review and learning from the conduct of the Second Parliamentary Elections so that future elections are up to the expected standards and fulfill the needs of Bhutanese Democracy. The objectives of the LEP are to:
- Learn from lessons and share experiences of Second Parliamentary Elections;
- Carry out critical analysis in the conduct of elections;
- Identify strengths, weaknesses and problem areas in the electoral process and system from the point of view of the electoral stakeholders so as to further improve the system and process;
- Come up with recommendations for improvement of the Electoral Laws, procedural or administrative adjustments; and
- Provide inputs for development and undertaking of comprehensive voter and civic education programme for enhanced and meaningful participation in future elections.
During the LEP, the ECB will hold discussions with the key electoral stakeholders, which comprise of the election officials, political parties and candidates, voters, local government functionaries, election security officials, and media who all played very important roles in the conduct of the Second Parliamentary Elections. The LEP discussions called the “Reflections and Sharing Workshops” will be held in over 6 regions with the electoral stakeholders, as well as seek opinions and recommendations through questionnaire surveys.
It is hoped that through the LEP, the ECB will come up with improvements to the electoral system, processes and procedures and to be incorporated in the relevant rules, regulations, guidelines, handbooks and other documents. The reports are scheduled to be launched on the 16th of January 2014, the 8th Anniversary of the establishment of the ECB Head Office.
Further, coinciding with the opening of LEP at Punakha Dzongkhag on 28th of November 2013, the Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner will launch Reports of the Forum of Election Management Body of South Asia (FEMBoSA) meeting held in Thimphu in October 2013.
The LEP is being conducted with funding and technical assistance from the UNDP and the Royal Government of Bhutan.