This is for information of the general public that the ECB is making necessary preparations for the 4th National Assembly elections, 2023-24. As the National Assembly elections draw nearer, advocacy efforts to inform and create awareness among citizens on electoral processes and procedures have been stepped-up through various channels. Recently, a Training of Trainers (ToT) Programme covering Civic and Voter Education and Dispute Settlement System was carried out for all 20 Dzongkhags in the month of July, 2023. Shortly, Dzongkhag Election Offices will be carrying out Civic and Voter Education in the Gewogs and Chiwogs, to create awareness among voters at the grassroots level, starting in the second week of August.
Amidst the preparations, it has come to the attention of the ECB that election related allegations are emerging in various social media platforms. It is the responsibility of every citizen of Bhutan to understand that labeling unsubstantiated allegations can lead to defamation and create disharmony in our small, close-knit society. However, if one has established wrongdoing or violation of the electoral laws, the ECB strongly urges such individuals to come forward and report the matter. To do so, one must complete the Election Complaint Form No. 1 of the Election Dispute Settlement Rules and Regulations, 2018 which is readily available on the ECB’s website www.ecb.bt.Thereupon, the complaint can be lodged with the ECB, both during the non-election and election period. In the case of the election period, complaints can be lodged either with the ECB or the concerned Dzongkhag Election Authorities.
It must be noted that the ECB has been issuing approval to Political Parties to carry out familiarization visits and consultation meetings, based on their written applications. However, all Political Parties are clearly reminded that during such visits and meetings they are not permitted to engage in any form of political campaigning. All Political Parties have also been informed that political campaigning can only commence from the date notified in the notification calling the NA elections, 2023.
In the event it is established that a Political Party has engaged in campaigning during the non-election period or violated the electoral laws, the ECB shall take strict action, depending on the gravity of the case. Consequently, actions can include fines and disqualification of the Political Party or Candidate from contesting elections.
To ensure free, fair and transparent elections, it is crucial that all Political Parties, Candidates and Voters strictly comply with the electoral laws.
In the light of above, all concerned are urged to strictly adhere to the election code of conduct at all times and extend their support in upholding the principles that define Bhutan as a unique and harmonious society.
Election Commission of Bhutan