The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has allocated a total estimated budget of Nu 250mn for the National Council (NC) elections 2018.
Initially, 142 aspiring council candidates registered for the seminars that ECB conducted recently to disseminate information on the key legal framework and other necessary required documents to participate as candidates in the elections.
As per ECB records, eight additional aspiring council candidates have registered taking the current number of council aspirants to 150.
However, an ECB official said that the record held true for aspiring candidates for the conduct of seminars.
“Those interested can still prepare and turn up at DhamNgoi Zomdu which is conducted after issuance of notification calling the elections,” said the official adding that at the moment the commission is reviewing the campaign fund for the candidates.
In 2013, the council elections cost Nu 148.513mn and campaign funding amounted to Nu 17.38mn. In total, 67 candidates contested for the council elections then.
In 2008, the council elections cost Nu 99.49mn and the campaign, Nu 5.2mn. In total, 52 candidates contested for the first council elections.
The commission has already informed the public on the requirements of the candidates to contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Election materials are also being procured and will soon be dispatched to the dzongkhag election offices.
The ECB is also reviewing arrangements related to public debates, postal ballots, human resource deployment, polling stations, media arbitrator’s office, public election campaign fund.
Strategies aimed to increase voter turnout in the third parliamentary elections are already being implemented across the dzongkhags.
According to ECB authorities, aspiring candidates may initiate preparatory activities as required under the law after the registration process is completed.
All those interested have been advised to ensure Mitsi registration in constituency of choice and prepare to participate as voters, candidates and political parties.
The current NC members’ office ends on May 9 and the third NC will be reconstituted on May 10.
The council elections is scheduled from February to May next year.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu