Political Candidate’s Registration Dilemma

Election Commission of Bhutan

Many political parties have emerged within the last few months.

With that span of time, some have proven to grow more progressive in terms of finding candidates and members; a few are seemingly becoming more serious about the whole process; and others continue to be no more than a mere name.

The next step for these parties is to now register with the Election Commission so they stand legit.

There, however, seems to be some confusion in fulfilling this crucial process.

Some of recently formed parties are of the understanding that registration with the commission only meant having to, among others, submit a proposed party name, along with a list of its members, including those of president, secretary and other office bearers.

The Election Commission officials said the interested parties, should also provide, at the time of registration, the list of candidates they intend to field during the general election.
This is where the confusion lies.

While some parties are ready with a tentative list of names, others are either halfway through, or they have not been able to budge beyond the party name.

All this while they were of the understanding that the name-list of candidates, that too a tentative one, was not required for political parties intending to contest the election until the seventh day, after announcement of dates for elections.

Some party members feel Election Commission’s seeking names of candidates, that too all required 47, was unreasonable.

They fear this would slim their chances of confirming prospective candidates to join them, which is a major hurdle today for anyone interested in forming a party.

In other words, it more or less means killing a party, credible ones at that, which is even more difficult to form. Many a candidate, who is being eyed and approached, is a civil servant or corporate employee, most of whom, given the way Bhutanese are, are biding their time, perhaps until the last moment.

First, they have to study each of the parties to gauge their credibility and strength before hopping on, and an auspicious time and day has to be chosen to make public their candidature.

Anything done in haste at this juncture, party members fear, will send those prospective candidates back into their cocoons.

But the Election Commission requiring interested parties to submit the list of their candidates’ names could be there for a reason.

Besides conducting a free and fair election, it would be the responsibility of the commission to ensure that candidates with criminal records and those, who have proven to be questionable in their dealings, are screened.

In fact, this move on the part of the commission also serves the parties well, because they will find more time to look for replacement candidates for those deemed unfit.

After all, candidates should be those worth the election broadcasting time and funds, and access to party election expenses.



Kuensel Editorial on the 31st August, 2012.



This story from Sonam Pem

Sonam Pem has the distinction of being our very first author on Bhutanomics.