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National Assembly election 2008
The Election Commission of Bhutan has announced that ...

Bhutan's first general elections that will elect 47 candidates to the National Assembly will be held on 24 March 2008.

The National Assembly election period begins with the two political parties submitting the letter of intent, stating the list of their candidates, copy of their election manifestos, audited financial statues among others, on January 22 to the commission.

The party manifestos will also be released on the same day and the election campaign will formally begin.

Filing in nomination of candidates will be done 31 January to 7 February 2008, after which candidates can start campaigning if their nomination is accepted.

While the timing for the TV debates between the party presidents has not been announced, debates between candidates in the constituencies will start from 7 February 008.

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and the Peoples Democratic Party are the two parties contesting Bhutan's first historic election.

Source: Kuensel, Bhutan's National Newspaper, January 2008


Parliamentary election months announced
The National Council election will be held in December 2007, ...
the primary round of the National Assembly election will be held in February 2008 and ...
the general election in March 2008.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) announced the poll dates on July 2 following a Royal Decree from His Majesty on June 30. The announcement is expected to infuse new momentum to the political process, which as of now, is seen to be dragging.

The Royal Decree, which was read out by the Chief Election Commissioner at a press conference in Thimphu, stated that with the conclusion of the 87th session of the National Assembly the country will now embark on the formal process towards a democratic constitutional monarchy.

In the Royal Decree, His Majesty said that to encourage early formation of political parties and declaration of interest by candidates, the timeline for elections to the two houses of Parliament must be announced. The Royal Decree also called on all Bhutanese who have the desire, qualifications and skills to serve the country through the political process to come forward.

The ECB has also launched a handbook for candidates contesting the elections to Parliament and local government.

The handbook explains in detail aspects of the Election Bill, which relate directly to the candidates.

For instance, a chapter on funding in the handbook specifies the expenditure ceiling of candidates. In the National Council elections expenditure incurred by a contesting candidate must not exceed Nu. 100,000 and in elections to Dzongkhag Tshogdues and Thromde Tshogdes the expenditure of the candidate must not exceed Nu. 50,000.

In the General Election a candidate can, in addition to the funds received from the ECB, incur expenditure from funds received from his or her party. The amount however should not exceed the fund provided by the ECB which is 100,000 each for the primary round of the National Assembly election and for the general elections.

The handbook also includes a chapter on reservation of symbols but it does not specify the type of symbol a political party can have or use for the Assembly elections.

Earlier, ECB had announced that the symbols and colours (blue, green, red, yellow) used in the mock election will not be allowed in the real elections but it has not been mentioned in the handbook.

For National Council and Local Government elections, candidates must provide the name and photograph instead of a symbol.

Chapters on election campaigning, nomination of candidates, qualification and disqualification of candidates and electoral offences are all in the handbook.

The ECB also introduced stickers with slogans of forming good political parties and party politics.

Contributed by Phuntsho Choden, Kuensel, Bhutan's National Newspaper, July 2007
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