The inadequacy of the election results embarrasses two candidates

Choki wangmo | Tsirang

Two candidates for the tshogpa, who followed the election results on Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS), were happy when BBS said they had obtained the highest votes in the chiwog.

Their happiness was short-lived, however.

The Bhutan Election Commission (ECB) told the tshogpa candidates of Lhaling chiwog in Dagana and Maanthong chiwog in Tashigang that they had lost the elections.

Lhaling Chiwog’s tshogpa candidate, Phul Maya Katwal, said BBS said it received 127 votes while the other candidate, Gembo, received 126 votes. “But ECB records showed Gembo won 134 votes.”

She said after celebrating her announced victory on BBS, she went to submit her documents to the election office but was surprised to learn that she lost to Gembo. “I was embarrassed because everyone thought I won.”

Phul Maya Katwal said the returning officer (RO) did not clarify the changes and neither did BBS make the correction.

Disappointed with the change in outcome, Phul Maya yesterday filed a petition letter with the dzongkhag court.

In a similar case, a tshogpa candidate from Maanthong Chiwog to Kanglung Cewog, Ghaley Wangmo, alleged that the ROs and the gewog administration officer said she won the election, but the result on BBS showed that she had lost to Karma.

She said that while waiting for the result on BBS, she fell asleep; reassured by the first information she received from officials. “My sister called to say I lost to another candidate. I was devastated and confused by the two results.

Ghaley Wangmo said people and organizations should be held responsible for creating such confusion.

Sources said there was a similar problem with Yadi Gewog in Mongar, which was resolved after the candidate again checked the results.

“The process has to be transparent, so we trust the system,” a source said.

Official sources in Dagana said that on the night of the results reporting the ECB system crashed and the results on the scoreboard had to be updated three times. “It could have resulted in errors,” said an official.

The official also said that the end result is the one signed and submitted by the ROs. “The election results announced by BBS are provisional, which means they are subject to change.”

The candidate, the official said, was allowed to re-check the results and she was asked to address her grievances through a petition letter.

In the ECB result shared with the media, Gembo is Lhaling Chiwog’s elected tshogpa. Karma is the elected tshogpa of Maanthong chiwog.

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