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Report on State Finance and Election Returns for the National Council Elections, 2023

The Election Commission of Bhutan, as required under the Public Election Fund Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 (PEF Act, 2008), herein informs the general public that the Report on the State Finance and Election Returns pertaining to the Election Campaign for the National Council Elections, 2023 is hereby being released for public information. The Accounts thereof are available for public inspection as per the above PEF Act, 2008 and a copy of the Report may be accessed from the link below:

Public Inspection Form

A total amount of Nu. 13,350,000/- was disbursed to 89 contesting candidates in the 20 Dzongkhags with a cash amount of Nu. 150,000 (One Hundred Fifty Thousand) provided to each candidate of which 81 candidates refunded a total amount of Nu. 566,124.28/- with the maximum amount of Nu. 73,785/- from Rinzin Namgyal, a candidate from Langthil Gewog, Trongsa, followed by Nu. 54,303/- by Dophu Drukpa, a candidate from Toepaisa Gewog, Punakha and Nu. 46,918/- by Tshering Norbu, a candidate from Martshala Gewog, Samdrup Jongkhar. Besides the cash amount, sponsorship of Common Forum, Public Debate, Campaign Materials, and Media access was provided to ensure an effective election campaign. The State Sponsorship provided is as presented in Table 1 below:

Sl./No.State FinancingAmount (Nu)Percentage (%)
1Campaign Fund (Fund Disbursed –Fund Refunded)12,783,875.7268%
2Audio Visual advertisement (Radio and TV)1,843,740.0010%
3Supplement Page/Advertisement in Print Media3,661,568.2519%
4Printing of Banners29,007.000.15%
5Printing of Posters90,640.000%
6Printing of Placards378,000.002%
7Communication skill training for candidates72,000.000%
Total Cost 18,858,830.97
Average cost per Candidate211,896.98

The overall expenditure incurred on campaign funds & sponsored activities for the candidates to the National Council Elections is Nu. 18,858,830.97/-. On average, a total amount of Nu. 211,896.98/- was spent on each candidate for Campaign Financing.

The scrutiny of the candidate’s Election Returns and the findings, in brief, are as follows:

  1. Around 39% of the total campaign fund was spent on hiring Vehicles, 40% on Daily Subsistence Allowance for candidates and their representatives, and 14% & 3% on stationery and communication, respectively.
  2. Most of the candidates had hired two vehicles, one for the candidates themselves and one for their election representatives, while some had claimed mileage and few had fueled their own vehicles. Overall, it is observed that almost half of the campaign fund expenditure was incurred on vehicle/transport-related payments.
  3. A few candidates had incurred costs on hiring office space and purchase of stationery.
  4. A total of Nu. 269,426/- was deposited to Regional Revenue and Customs Office (RRCO) as TDS for hiring of vehicles and office rental charges.
  5. While campaign materials were also provided in-kind, some of the candidates incurred additional expenditure on advertisement, especially on the printing of visiting cards.
  6. Differences were observed in the pattern and amount of expenditure incurred by various Candidates for meeting election campaign expenses on permissible heads as per Section 77 of the Public Election Fund Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008. However, these were within the categories permissible under the laws that do not prescribe the maximum limits.
  7. It is found that the DSA rates were applied uniformly as per the government’s existing rules and claims were made accordingly.
  8. The Election Returns were also checked against the weekly report submitted by the candidates through the National Observers and it was found that the Election Returns were found consistent with the weekly expenditure reports.

The Royal Audit Authority audited the Election Returns of the National Council Elections from 5th to 9th June, 2023.

Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan

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