Region: Bhutan will not participate in the 19th SAARC summit given the deteriorating security situation in the region, according to a foreign affairs press release.
“The Royal Government of Bhutan has expressed its concern to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, as the current chair of SAARC, that the deteriorating security situation in the region has created an environment which is not conducive for the successful holding of the 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad in November 2016,” the press release states.
“Therefore the Royal Government has joined some of the other member states in expressing its inability to participate in the SAARC summit given the current security situation,” it adds.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and India will also not be attending the summit which is scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November.
“As one of the founding members of SAARC, the Royal Government of Bhutan is strongly committed to the SAARC process and strengthening of regional cooperation and is hopeful that the situation would return to normalcy to enable early and successful convening of the 19th SAARC summit,” it is stated in the press release.
Staff reporter




Second LG elections historic: ECB

Two women have been elected gups
LG: Tuesday’s local government (LG) elections saw a voter turnout of 55.8 percent. This is a slight decrease from 56.23 percent in the first LG elections.
Speaking at the post-election press conference in Thimphu yesterday, Chief Election Commissioner Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said the voter turnout was a good result. “The result in terms of election of women candidates is also good,” he said.
About 11 percent of the total elected candidates are women.
Nationwide, 224,460 out of the total of 402,149 registered voters cast votes.
The chief election commissioner described the elections as historic. “Despite some problems, the elections went smoothly with active participation of the electorates,” he said.
The names of all elected candidates were read out in the presence of media personnel and election officials.
A total of 1,423 candidates have been elected as gup, mangmi and gewog tshogpa, thrompon and thromde tshogpas and thromde ngotshabs. Out of the total, 432 had previously held elective posts in local governments.
The elections were called for a total of 1,477 constituencies.
However, there were no elections held in 41 chiwogs due to lack of candidates.
Gasa, Monggar and Pemagatshel dzongkhags did not get thromde ngotshab candidates

A total 189,333 voters cast votes on electronic voting machines (EVMs), 35,127 cast postal ballots. Postal ballots accounted for 15.6 percent of the total votes cast in the elections.
All 205 gup posts have been filled with two women gups, both of whom are from Dagana. Only one woman gup was elected in the first LG election in 2011.
Former gup of Tashiding, Namgay Pelden secured 854 votes to defeat her rival Karma Dechen Chogyal, who secured 468. Pema Wangmo Tamang, who secured 366 votes, is the gup-elect of Gesarling gewog. She defeated Mani Kumar Ghising, who secured 334 votes.
A total of 203 mangmi constituencies have been filled, out of which 23 are women. The Chief Election Commissioner said the result was good the result in terms of the election of women is positive.
According to the ECB, 998 tshogpa posts have been filled, out of which 129 are women. Two of the five thromde tshogpa-elects of thromde tshogpas are of Samdrupjongkhar thromde.
Out of 11 thromde ngotshab-elects, three are women.
Although 150 university graduates contested the elections, only 40 have been elected. A functional literacy test (FLT) certificate issued by the ECB is mandatory for LG candidates except for the post of thrompon.
According to the ECB, 330 constituencies saw lone candidates. Twelve of them received more “No” votes than “Yes” votes and hence were not elected.
There were also 11 cases of tied results where reelections will have be held.
However, in 10 polling stations some problems with the EVM occurred. “Some old and new sets of the EVMs were mixed up due to human error. The problems were addressed,” he said.
However, in Dangreybu Ngagang chiwog, Dophuchen gewog of Samtse, 57 voters who had already cast their votes in the EVM had to be recalled to cast their votes again when the EVM shut down. The polling hour was extended up to 8pm.
Similarly, in Atola chiwog, Thangrong gewog of Mongar, the EVM for the tshogpa election could not be read. Polls will be held there again.
The ECB acknowledged the support rendered by various agencies and the media.
Chogyal Dago Rigdzin said the elections coincided with three tendrels.
MB Subba

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