Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008

Link to law: http://www.nationalcouncil.bt/assets/uploads/docs/acts/2014/Election_Act_of_the_Kingdom_of_Bhutan,_2008eng1st.pdf

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Table of Contents

PREAMBLE .............................................................................. 1

CHAPTER 1 .............................................................................. 2

PRELIMINARY ....................................................................... 2
Short Title, Extent and Commencement ..................................... 2

Repeal ......................................................................................... 2

CHAPTER 2 .............................................................................. 3

CONSTITUENCIES ................................................................. 3
Single Member Constituency ...................................................... 3

Allocation of Seats in the National Assembly ............................ 3

The National Council .................................................................. 4

Dzongkhag Tshogdu ................................................................... 6

Allocation of Seats in Gewog Tshogde ...................................... 6

Allocation of Seats in Thromde Tshogde ................................... 8

CHAPTER 3 .............................................................................. 9

THE ELECTION COMMISSION .......................................... 9
Election Commission .................................................................. 9

Eligibility Criteria ....................................................................... 9

Appointing Authority .................................................................. 9

Oath or Affirmation of Office ................................................... 10

Term of Office .......................................................................... 10

Removal from Office ................................................................ 10

Terms and Condition of Service ............................................... 10

Role of the Chief Election Commissioner ................................ 11

Majority Decision ..................................................................... 11

Functions and Duties of the Election Commission ................... 12

Powers of the Election Commission ......................................... 13

Powers of a Court...................................................................... 14

Powers to Deploy Security Personnel ....................................... 15

Power to Requisition ................................................................. 15

Authority of the Election Commission ..................................... 16

Submission of Rules to Druk Gyalpo and Parliament .............. 16

Jurisdiction of Courts Barred .................................................... 17

Review Electoral System .......................................................... 17

Secretariat ................................................................................. 17

Immunities ................................................................................ 17

CHAPTER 4 ............................................................................ 18

ELECTION OFFICERS ........................................................ 18
Role of Chief Election Co-ordinator during Elections ............. 18

Dzongkhag Electoral Officer .................................................... 18

Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant
Electoral Registration Officers ................................................. 19

Returning Officers .................................................................... 20

Assistant Returning Officer ...................................................... 20

Presiding Officers ..................................................................... 21

Polling Officers ......................................................................... 21

Counting Personnel ................................................................... 22

Deputation ................................................................................. 22

Observers .................................................................................. 23

CHAPTER 5 ............................................................................ 25

DELIMITATION .................................................................... 25
Delimitation Commission ......................................................... 25

Power and Authority ................................................................. 25

Composition of the Delimitation Commission ......................... 26

Meeting of the Delimitation Commission ................................. 26

Delimitation of Constituencies ................................................. 27

Publication of Orders and their Date of Operation ................... 29

Re-adjustment in Number of Members of National Assembly
and Local Governments ............................................................ 30

Power of the Election Commission to Amend
the Delimitation Order .............................................................. 31

CHAPTER 6 ............................................................................ 33

VOTERS .................................................................................. 33
Qualifications of Voters ............................................................ 33

Disqualifications for Voters ...................................................... 34

CHAPTER 7 ............................................................................ 35

ELECTORAL ROLLS ........................................................... 35
Electoral Rolls for Parliamentary Constituencies ..................... 35

Preparation of Electoral Rolls for
Parliamentary Constituencies.................................................... 35

Voter Photo Identity Card (VPIC) ............................................ 37

Public Inspection of the Electoral Roll ..................................... 37

Revision of Electoral Rolls for
Parliamentary Constituencies.................................................... 39

Authority to Add or Delete Name in the Electoral Roll ........... 40

Qualifying Date ......................................................................... 41

Correction of Entries in Finally Published Electoral Rolls ....... 41

Inclusion of Names in Finally Published Electoral Rolls ......... 42

Temporary Embargo on Entries in Electoral Rolls ................... 43

Appeals ..................................................................................... 43

Electoral Rolls for National Council Constituencies ................ 44

Electoral Rolls for Gewogs, Chiwogs and Constituencies for
Dzongkhag Thromdes ............................................................... 44

Use of Information from the Electoral Roll .............................. 44

CHAPTER 8 ............................................................................ 45

POLITICAL PARTIES .......................................................... 45
Registration with the Election Commission of a Party as
Political Party ............................................................................ 45

Guiding Principles of Political Parties ...................................... 45

Register of Political Parties ....................................................... 49

Dissolution of Political Party .................................................... 50

Annual Account of Political Parties .......................................... 53

Membership to Political Parties ................................................ 53

Nomination of Candidates for Elections ................................... 54

Income of Political Parties ........................................................ 54

Registration Fee ........................................................................ 54

Membership Fee........................................................................ 55

Voluntary Contributions ........................................................... 55

CHAPTER 9 ............................................................................ 56

OFFICE OF PROFIT ............................................................. 56
Criteria for Determining an Office of Profit ............................. 56

Posts under the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan ..... 57

Permissible Offices ................................................................... 58

Decision on Disqualification ..................................................... 59

CHAPTER 10 .......................................................................... 62

QUALIFICATIONS AND DISQUALIFICATIONS
FOR CANDIDATES ............................................................... 62
Qualifications ............................................................................ 62

Qualifications of Candidates ..................................................... 62

Disqualifications of Candidates ................................................ 64

Ineligibility of a Member of the Royal Family to
Participate in the Electoral Process ........................................... 66

Ineligibility of a Religious Personality to Participate in the
Electoral Process ....................................................................... 66

CHAPTER 11 .......................................................................... 67

DATES OF ELECTIONS ...................................................... 67
Election to the National Assembly ........................................... 67

Election to the National Council ............................................... 69

Election to a Local Government ............................................... 70

Announcement of Dates for Nominations ................................ 71

Polling Dates ............................................................................. 72

Public Notice of Election .......................................................... 74

CHAPTER 12 ........................................................................ 75

NOMINATIONS AND WITHDRAWAL OF
CANDIDATURES .................................................................. 75
Nomination of Candidates for Election .................................... 75

Nomination of Candidates by Political Parties ......................... 76

Requirements for a Valid Nomination ...................................... 76

Right to Information of Voters ................................................. 80

Scrutiny of Nominations ........................................................... 81

Withdrawal of Candidatures ..................................................... 84

Reservation of Symbols for Contesting Candidates ................. 85

Publication of List of Contesting Candidates ........................... 86

Death or Cancellation of Candidate of Registered

Political Party before Poll ......................................................... 86

Appeals from Orders of Returning Officers ............................. 88

CHAPTER 13 .......................................................................... 91

REPRESENTATIVES OF CANDIDATES .......................... 91
Election Representatives ........................................................... 91

Disqualification for Election Representative ............................ 92

Resignation, Death or Revocation of Appointment
of an Election Representative ................................................... 92

Appointment of Polling Representatives .................................. 93

Appointment of Counting Representatives ............................... 94

Functions of Polling Representatives........................................ 95

Functions of Counting Representatives .................................... 95

Functions of a Contesting Candidate or his/her Election
Representative ........................................................................... 95

Non-attendance of Polling or Counting Representative ........... 96

Register of Representatives....................................................... 96

CHAPTER 14 .......................................................................... 97

ELECTION CAMPAIGN ...................................................... 97
Election Campaign and Campaign Period ................................ 97

Allocation of Equitable Time on Electronic Media .................. 98

Broadcasting from Outside Bhutan ........................................... 99

CHAPTER 15 ........................................................................ 100

PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING .................................. 100
State Funding of Elections ...................................................... 100

Political Parties entitled to accept Contributions .................... 100

Contributions........................................................................... 101

Maximum Limits of Election Expenses .................................. 102

Time limit for Filing of Return of Election Expenses ............ 103

CHAPTER 16 ........................................................................ 104

ELECTION CODE OF CONDUCT ................................... 104
Election Code of Conduct ....................................................... 104

Election Code of Conduct for Political Parties
and Candidates ........................................................................ 104

Date of Enforcement of the Election Code of Conduct .......... 110

Penalty for Contravention of the Code of Conduct ................ 110

Code of Conduct for Election Officers ................................... 111

Penalty for Contravention of Code of Conduct ...................... 113

CHAPTER 17 ........................................................................ 115

CONDUCT OF POLL .......................................................... 115
Right to Vote ........................................................................... 115

Polling Day a Public Holiday ................................................. 116

Voting at Elections .................................................................. 116

Voting by Post by Specified Group of Voters ........................ 116

Preventing Impersonation of Voters ....................................... 117

Provision of Polling Stations .................................................. 118

Employers to allow Employees Leave of Absence to Vote .... 119

Prohibition on Exit Polls ......................................................... 120

Ballot Papers ........................................................................... 120

Ballot Boxes and Voting Machines ........................................ 121

Hours of Poll ........................................................................... 121

Commencement of Poll........................................................... 122

Admission to Polling Stations ................................................. 123

Voting Procedure and Maintenance of Secrecy ...................... 123

Assistance to Physically Challenged Voters ........................... 124

Challenging of Identity of Voters ........................................... 125

Provisional Votes .................................................................... 126

Close of Poll ............................................................................ 127

Sealing of Ballot Boxes or Electronic Voting Machines
and Election Papers after Poll ................................................. 128

Adjournment or Temporary Suspension of Poll
in Emergencies ........................................................................ 129

Fresh Poll in case of Destruction of Ballot Boxes or Voting
Machines ................................................................................. 131

CHAPTER 18 ........................................................................ 133

COUNTING OF VOTES ..................................................... 133
Counting of Votes ................................................................... 133

Date, Time and Place of Counting .......................................... 134

Damage or Loss of Ballot Papers before Completion of
Counting .................................................................................. 135

Admission to Places of Counting ............................................ 136

Commencement of Counting of Votes ................................... 137

Scrutiny of Ballot Papers ........................................................ 138

Counting of Votes where Electronic Voting Machines
have been used ........................................................................ 141

Sealing of Election Related Materials ..................................... 142

Counting of Votes Received by Post ...................................... 142

Consolidation of Result of Counting by Returning Officer .... 145

Recounting of Votes ............................................................... 146

CHAPTER 19 ........................................................................ 149

DECLARATION OF RESULTS OF ELECTIONS .......... 149
Transmission of Results of Elections ...................................... 149

Declaration and Publication of Results of Elections in
Parliamentary Constituencies.................................................. 149

Constitution of the National Assembly ................................... 151

Constitution of the National Council ...................................... 152

Constitution of Local Governments ........................................ 153

Equality of Votes .................................................................... 155

Grant of Certificate of Election to Elected Candidate ............ 155

CHAPTER 20 ........................................................................ 156

ELECTION DISPUTES AND ELECTION
PETITIONS ........................................................................... 156
Election Petitions .................................................................... 156

Authorities to try Election Petitions ........................................ 156

Presentation of Election Petitions ........................................... 157

Parties to the Election Petition ................................................ 158

Grounds on which an Election Petition may be presented ..... 159

Relief that may be claimed in the Election Petition ................ 160

Contents of Election Petition .................................................. 160

Trial of Election Petitions ....................................................... 161

Examination of Witness .......................................................... 162

Recrimination when Seat Claimed .......................................... 162

Decision of the Trial Court ..................................................... 163

Communication of Orders of the Trial Court ......................... 164

Issue of Notification ................................................................ 164

Effect of Orders of the Trial Court ......................................... 164

Withdrawal of Election Petition .............................................. 165

Report of Withdrawal by the Trial Court ................................ 166

Abatement of Election Petitions ............................................. 166

Substitution on Abatement ...................................................... 167

Election Appeals ..................................................................... 168

Suspend the Operation of Order of Trial Court ...................... 169

Procedure in Appeal ................................................................ 169

CHAPTER 21 ........................................................................ 171

ELECTORAL OFFENCES ................................................. 171
Corrupt Practices ..................................................................... 171

Offences relating to Election Advertising ............................... 175

Offences relating to Postal Ballot ........................................... 176

Misuse of Election Fund ......................................................... 176

Prohibition of Third Party Campaign ..................................... 177

Prohibition of Public Meetings ............................................... 177

Disturbances at Election Meetings .......................................... 178

Maintenance of Secrecy of Voting ......................................... 178

Offences relating to Voter Photo Identity Card ...................... 178

Government Servants not to Act for Candidates
or to Influence Voting ............................................................. 179

Prohibition of Canvassing in or near Polling Station.............. 179

Fraudulent Removal or Tampering ......................................... 180

Prohibition of Going Armed to or near a Polling Station
or Counting Place .................................................................... 182

Breaches of Official Duty in connection with Election .......... 183

Prohibition on Sale or Distribution ......................................... 183

Impersonation at Elections ...................................................... 183

Illegal Payments in connection with an Election .................... 184

Failure to keep Election Accounts .......................................... 184

Making False Statement .......................................................... 184

Failure to Furnish the Information required by Law .............. 185

Offences under the Penal Code of Bhutan .............................. 186

CHAPTER 22 ........................................................................ 187

THE NATIONAL REFERENDUM .................................... 187
Initiation for a National Referendum ...................................... 187

Submission for a Referendum ................................................. 187

Form of Referendum ............................................................... 188

Prohibition of Withdrawal ...................................................... 188

Eligibility to Vote ................................................................... 188

Duty of the Election Commission ........................................... 188

Period for holding a National Referendum ............................. 188

Successful Referendum ........................................................... 189

CHAPTER 23 ........................................................................ 190

MISCELLANEOUS ............................................................. 190
Uncontested Election .............................................................. 190

Bye-Election ........................................................................... 190

Inherent Powers ...................................................................... 191

Amendment ............................................................................. 192

Authoritative Text ................................................................... 192

ANNEXURE .......................................................................... 193

INTERPRETATION ............................................................ 193
Interpretation ........................................................................... 193

ELECTION ACT OF THE KINGDOM OF BHUTAN, 2008

PREAMBLE

WHEREAS, pursuant to Article 23 of the Constitution of the
Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, that the general will of the people
shall be expressed through periodic elections and National
Referendums held in a free and fair manner;

Parliament of the Kingdom of Bhutan during its 1st Session do
hereby enact the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan on this
26th Day of the Second 5th Month of the Earth Male Rat Year
corresponding to the 28th Day of the 7th Month of the Year 2008.

CHAPTER 1

PRELIMINARY

Short Title, Extent and Commencement

1. This Act shall:

(a) Be called the ELECTION ACT OF THE KINGDOM
OF BHUTAN, 2008;

(b) Extend to the whole of Bhutan, and apply to
elections to Parliament and Local Governments in all
electoral constituencies and to National
Referendums; and

(c) Come into force on the 11th Day of 6th Month of the
Earth Male Rat Year corresponding to 12th Day of 8th
Month of 2008.

Repeal

2. This Act hereby repeals all other laws concerning elections
to Parliament and Local Governments.

CHAPTER 2

CONSTITUENCIES

Single Member Constituency

3. Every Parliamentary and Local Government constituency
shall be a single member constituency.

Allocation of Seats in the National Assembly

4. The National Assembly of Bhutan shall have a maximum
of fifty-five members chosen by direct election from the
territorial constituencies in each Dzongkhag as provided
hereinafter.

5. A Delimitation Commission shall, for the purposes of
section 4, allocate to each Dzongkhag a number of seats in
the National Assembly, so far as practicable, in proportion
to its registered voter population.

Provided that no Dzongkhag shall have less than two and
more than seven National Assembly constituencies.

6. The Delimitation Commission shall, for the purposes of
section 5, divide each Dzongkhag into Parliamentary
constituencies equal to the number of seats allocated to
that Dzongkhag, so that the registered voter population in
each such constituency is, so far as practicable, equally
distributed.

7. The Delimitation Commission shall issue by notification,
the number of seats allocated to each Dzongkhag in the
National Assembly and the territorial extent of each
Parliamentary constituency in a Dzongkhag, not less than
one hundred eighty days before the duration of the
National Assembly expires.

The National Council

8. The National Council shall consist of twenty-five members
comprising:

(a) One member elected by the voters in each of the
twenty Dzongkhags; and

(b) Five eminent persons nominated by the Druk
Gyalpo.

9. Members of the National Council shall, for the purpose of
section 8 (a), be chosen by direct election from each
Dzongkhag as provided hereinafter.

10. Each Dzongkhag shall, for the purposes of section 9, form
a constituency to elect one member each to the National
Council.

11. Every Gewog and Dzongkhag Thromde, which is not part
of a Gewog, shall, for the purposes of section 9, be entitled
to nominate one candidate for the National Council
election in the following manner.

(a) The Gup of every Gewog and Thrompon of every
Dzongkhag Thromde shall, for the purposes of
section 11, call a Zomdu for which:

(1) The venue must be centrally located for the
convenience of the maximum number of
voters;

(2) The venue and details must be made widely
known within the Gewog;

(3) Participation shall be open to all registered
voters of the Gewog; and

(4) The process must be well documented.

(b) A candidate shall be selected at a Zomdu through a
majority vote of the voters at that Zomdu.

(c) In the case of more than one nomination, each
candidate shall be given the opportunity to address
the Zomdu and those voters present at the Zomdu
shall cast votes as per the prescribed procedures. The
person with the highest number of votes shall be the
Gewog or the Dzongkhag Thromde’s candidate to
contest the National Council Election in the
Dzongkhag.

(d) The Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall be
responsible for setting up an operational polling
station, along with the Voters’ List for the Gewog or
Dzongkhag Thromde, at the venue of every Zomdu.

(e) The candidate selected at a Zomdu shall complete
and file before the last date of nomination, with the
concerned Returning Officer, all the required
nomination documents duly countersigned by the
Gup, Mangmi and Tshogpas in the case of a Gewog
Candidate and Thrompon in the case of the Thromde
Candidate.

Dzongkhag Tshogdu

12. Each Dzongkhag shall have a Dzongkhag Tshogdu whose
members comprise elected members from within that
Dzongkhag:

(a) One elected Gup and a Mangmi from each Gewog
Tshogde;

(b) One elected representative from that Dzongkhag
Thromde; and

(c) One elected representative from Dzongkhag Yenlag
Thromdes.

13. The constituency for the purposes of section 12 shall be
determined by the Delimitation Commission.

Allocation of Seats in Gewog Tshogde

14. A Gewog shall have a Gewog Tshogde consisting of not
less than seven and not more than ten elected Tshogpas,
including the Gup and Mangmi, chosen by direct election.

Provided that in the event of premature dissolution of a:

(a) Dzongkhag Tshogdu, the Gups and Mangmis shall
continue to be the members of their Gewog Tshogde
till such time as new Gups, Mangmis and Thromde
Representatives are elected; or

(b) Gewog Tshogde, the Gup and Mangmi shall continue
to be the members of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu till
such time as new Gup, Mangmi and Tshogpas are
elected.

15. Each Gewog shall, for the purposes of section 14:

(a) Form a constituency to elect one Gup and a Mangmi
respectively to be the members of the Gewog
Tshogde; and

(b) Elections under sub-section (a) shall be held as
provided hereinafter.

16. Each Gewog shall, for the purposes of section 14, be
divided into Chiwogs equal to the number of seats
allocated in the Gewog Tshogde and each such Chiwog
shall elect one Tshogpa to the Gewog Tshogde as provided
hereinafter.

Allocation of Seats in Thromde Tshogde

17. A Dzongkhag Thromde shall have a Tshogde consisting of
not less than seven and not more than ten elected
members, including the Thrompon.

18. A Dzongkhag Thromde shall, for the purposes of section
17, be divided into constituencies equal to the number of
seats allocated in the Thromde Tshogde.

19. A Dzongkhag Thromde shall directly elect a Thrompon
who shall be the chief executive of the Thromde and the
Chairperson of the Thromde Tshogde.

CHAPTER 3

THE ELECTION COMMISSION

Election Commission

20. The Election Commission shall be independent and consist
of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election
Commissioners.

Eligibility Criteria

21. A person shall be eligible for appointment or to serve as
the Chief Election Commissioner or the Election
Commissioner, if he/she is:

(a) A natural born citizen of Bhutan;

(b) Not married to a person who is not a citizen of
Bhutan;

(c) Not convicted of any criminal offence; and

(d) Not in arrears of taxes or other dues to the
Government.

Appointing Authority

22. The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and
seal, appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and two
Election Commissioners from a list of names
recommended jointly by the Prime Minister, the Chief
Justice of Bhutan, the Speaker, the Chairperson of the
National Council and the Leader of the Opposition Party.

Oath or Affirmation of Office

23. The Chief Election Commissioner and the Election
Commissioners shall, upon assuming office, take an Oath
or Affirmation of Office as provided in the Third Schedule
of the Constitution.

Term of Office

24. The term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and
the Election Commissioners shall be five years or until
they attain the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.

Removal from Office

25. The Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed
from office except by way of impeachment.

26. The Druk Gyalpo shall remove an Election Commissioner
from office on a recommendation submitted by the Chief
Election Commissioner based on grounds of violation of
this Act.

Terms and Condition of Service

27. The Chief Election Commissioner or the Election
Commissioners may resign from office before the expiry
of their term by submitting an application for resignation
to the Druk Gyalpo.

28. The senior most Election Commissioner shall act as the
Chief Election Commissioner in the event of death or
resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner or during
the period he/she is unable for any reason to perform the
functions of the office.

Provided such Election Commissioner shall not ordinarily
continue to act for a period of more than three months.

29. The Chief Election Commissioner shall not be eligible for
reappointment.

30. The salary, discipline and other conditions of service of
the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election
Commissioners shall be prescribed by law.

Provided that their salary and benefits shall not be varied
to their disadvantage after appointment.

31. The Chief Election Commissioner or the Election
Commissioner shall not hold any office of profit.

Role of the Chief Election Commissioner

32. The Chief Election Commissioner shall act as Chairperson
of the Commission.

Majority Decision

33. All acts and orders of the Election Commission shall be
expressed in terms of views of the majority among the
Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners
present and voting.

Functions and Duties of the Election Commission

34. The Election Commission shall be responsible for the
superintendence, direction and control of the preparation
of Electoral Rolls for, and conduct of, all elections to
Parliament and Local Governments as well as of holding
of National Referendums under the Constitution in a free
and fair manner.

35. It shall be the responsibility of the Election Commission
to:

(a) Register political parties;

(b) Promote public awareness on electoral matters by
conducting education and information dissemination
programmes or by any other means;

(c) Provide information and advice on referendums and
electoral matters to Parliament and the Government;

(d) Facilitate coverage of elections by the media in
accordance with the Rules framed for that purpose;

(e) Make Rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act,
without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, and
such Rules be issued by notification;

(f) Provide in the cases approved by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, assistance in matters relating to
elections and referendums to authorities of foreign
countries or foreign organizations; and

(g) Perform any other functions as authorized under this
Act or any other law in force.

Powers of the Election Commission

36. The Election Commission shall have the power to:

(a) Introduce any device or system for the purpose of
registration of voters, issue of voter photo identity
cards to them, conduct of elections, for counting of
votes and declaration of results thereof;

(b) Conduct research on electoral and other matters that
relate to its functions;

(c) Refer any person who has committed an offence
relating to an election to the appropriate state agency
for prosecution;

(d) Cancel and re-schedule an election, if the election in
a particular constituency becomes vitiated for any
reason laid down in this Act or any law in force;

(e) Obtain information from the Ministry maintaining
civil registry data for preparing and maintaining
Electoral Roll;

(f) Enforce or require any other act to be done as
authorized under this Act or any other law in force;
and

(g) Delegate by an Order, subject to its overall
superintendence, direction and control, any of its
functions and powers under this Act or Rules and
Orders made thereunder to any of the Election
Officers.

Powers of a Court

37. The Election Commission shall, in the performance of its
functions to adjudicate any matter, have the powers of a
Court under the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of
Bhutan in respect of the matters, namely:

(a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of a
person;

(b) Requiring the production of any document; and

(c) Requisitioning any public record from any Court or
Office.

Powers to Deploy Security Personnel

38. The Election Commission shall have the power to direct
the Royal Bhutan Police and the security agencies to
deploy personnel, as it considers necessary for conducting
elections in a free and fair manner.

Provided the Election Commission, during the election
period shall have the authority, if it finds it necessary for
the conduct of free and fair elections, to require the Royal
Bhutan Police to detain a person for a specified period of
time if there is sufficient ground that free and fair election
is likely to be undermined.

39. The concerned agencies deploying security personnel shall
be responsible for any act or omission of its security
personnel on election duty under this Act and Rules made
thereunder.

Power to Requisition

40. The Election Commission shall be entitled to requisition,
during elections:

(a) The services of any officer and staff of the
Government or Local Government, so as to assist it
in the discharge of its functions; and

(b) Any facility including premises, vehicle or horses
needed in connection with any election arrangement
on payment of reasonable compensation as the
Commission may deem appropriate.

Authority of the Election Commission

41. The Election Commission shall have full authority over all
aspect of its financial and personnel management.

42. Parliament shall approve the budget of the Election
Commission which shall be charged on the Consolidated
Fund of Bhutan. In the case, Parliament fails to allocate
budget for the Commission on time, the Ministry of
Finance shall provide the Commission with interim funds
at least equal to the previous year’s budget.

Submission of Rules to Druk Gyalpo and Parliament

43. Every Rule made by the Election Commission under this
Act shall be submitted to the Druk Gyalpo and each House
of Parliament after the issue of the notification.

Jurisdiction of Courts Barred

44. A Court shall not have jurisdiction to question the legality
of any action taken or of any decision given by the
Election Commission or its officers or by any other person
appointed under this Act in connection with an election,
except upon receiving an election petition or an election
appeal.

Review Electoral System

45. The Election Commission may review the electoral system
when it deems necessary and submit its findings and
recommendations to Parliament.

Secretariat

46. The Election Commission shall be supported by a
Secretariat.

47. The Election Commission may, subject to its overall
superintendence, direction and control, delegate by a
resolution or Order any of its functions and powers under
this Act or Rules and Orders made thereunder to any of the
officers in its Secretariat.

Immunities

48. The Election Officers shall not be arrested or detained by a
warrant for inquiry during the period of elections, except
in the cases of flagrant violation of the laws.

CHAPTER 4

ELECTION OFFICERS

Role of Chief Election Co-ordinator during Elections

49. The Election Commission shall, during elections,
designate a senior government officer as the Chief
Election Co-ordinator for each Dzongkhag.

50. The primary function of the Chief Election Co-ordinator
shall be to facilitate the Election Commission in
conducting free and fair elections in the concerned
Dzongkhag.

51. The Election Commission shall, by an order, prescribe the
roles, responsibilities and duties of the Chief Election Co-
ordinator.

Dzongkhag Electoral Officer

52. The Election Commission shall designate or appoint an
officer of the Government as a Dzongkhag Electoral
Officer for every Dzongkhag.

53. The Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall, subject to the
superintendence, direction and control of the Election
Commission, assist the Commission in the preparation,
revision and updating of Electoral Rolls for all
Parliamentary constituencies in the Dzongkhag and carry
out such other functions as entrusted to him/her by the
Election Commission.

54. The Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall assist the Election
Commission in the division of Electoral Roll of a
Parliamentary constituency into Electoral Rolls for
Gewogs, Chiwogs and constituencies for Dzongkhag
Thromdes for the purpose of conducting elections to
Dzongkhag Tshogdues, Gewog Tshogdes and Thromde
Tshogdes within a Dzongkhag.

55. The Dzongkhag Electoral Officer may, with the approval
of the Election Commission, employ persons as he/she
deems fit for the preparation and revision of the Electoral
Rolls under his/her jurisdiction.

Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant
Electoral Registration Officers

56. The Election Commission may designate or appoint one or
more persons as Dzongkhag Electoral Registration
Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers to
assist any Dzongkhag Electoral Officer in the efficient and
effective performance of his/her functions.

57. Every Officer so appointed shall, subject to the control of
the Dzongkhag Electoral Officer, be competent to perform
all or any of the functions of the Dzongkhag Electoral
Officer.

58. The Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall, unless the context
otherwise requires, be deemed to include a person
performing any function which he/she is authorized to
perform under section 57.

Returning Officers

59. The Election Commission shall designate or appoint a
Returning Officer for one or more constituencies.

60. The Returning Officer shall perform all acts as may be
necessary for effectually conducting elections as provided
under this Act or Rules and Orders made thereunder.

Assistant Returning Officer

61. The Election Commission may designate or appoint one or
more persons as Assistant Returning Officers to assist the
Returning Officer in the performance of his/her functions.

62. Every Assistant Returning Officer shall, subject to the
control of the Returning Officer, be competent to perform
all or any of the functions of the Returning Officer.

Provided that no Assistant Returning Officer shall perform
any of the functions of the Returning Officer which relate
to the scrutiny of the nominations unless the Returning
Officer is unavoidably prevented from performing such
functions.

63. Any reference in this Act to the Returning Officer shall,
unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to
include an Assistant Returning Officer performing any
function which he/she is authorised to perform under
section 62.

Presiding Officers

64. The Returning Officer shall appoint a Presiding Officer for
each polling station.

65. The Presiding Officer at a polling station shall be
responsible to see that the poll is conducted in a free and
fair manner in accordance with the provisions of this Act
or Rules and Orders made thereunder.

Polling Officers

66. The Returning Officer shall appoint Polling Officer or
Officers, as it deems necessary to assist the Presiding
Officer of a polling station in the performance of his/her
functions.

67. A Polling Officer shall, if directed by the Presiding
Officer, perform all or any of the functions of a Presiding
Officer under this Act or Rules and Orders made
thereunder.

68. The Presiding Officer shall, unless the context otherwise
requires, be deemed to include a person performing any
function of the Presiding Officer under section 67.

Counting Personnel

69. The Returning Officer of a constituency may appoint
persons to be called Counting Supervisors and Counting
Assistants to assist him/her in the performance of his/her
duties relating to the counting of votes at the election.

Deputation

70. All officers and staff including security personnel
deployed or employed in connection with elections shall
be deemed to be on deputation to the Election
Commission, be subject to the control, superintendence
and discipline of the Commission and shall be dealt in
accordance with this Act, during the period for which they
are so employed.

71. No person covered by section 70 including personnel
employed in connection with preparation or revision of the
Electoral Roll shall after having being so deputed, be
transferred by the Government during the period of
elections or during preparation or revision of Electoral
Roll, except with the prior approval of the Election
Commission.

72. No person shall be appointed as an Election Officer, who
has been employed by or has been working for a candidate
participating in the election.

Observers

73. The Election Commission may appoint independent
national observers who are not affiliated to any political
party or candidate and such international observers
approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to oversee
the conduct of elections or carry out other functions
entrusted to them by the Commission.

74. An observer shall, if in his/her opinion an irregularity or
violation of this Act or Rules or Orders has been
committed to an extent that the result of the poll at a
polling station or stations cannot be ascertained, forthwith
report the matter to the Election Commission.

75. The Election Commission shall after taking all relevant
facts into consideration, issue appropriate directions under
this Act for the purposes of section 74.

CHAPTER 5

DELIMITATION

Delimitation Commission

76. A Dzongkhag, Gewog, and Dzongkhag Thromde shall be
divided into territorial constituencies after giving due
regard to the relevant provisions of the Constitution and as
provided hereinafter.

77. The Election Commission shall establish a Delimitation
Commission responsible from time to time to:

(a) Determine the allocation of seats to Dzongkhags in
the National Assembly;

(b) Determine number of Tshogpas in each Gewog
Tshogde;

(c) Determine the number of members of each Thromde
Tshogde; and

(d) Make readjustments in the allocation of seats to
Dzongkhags in the National Assembly, the number
of Tshogpas in each Gewog Tshogde and the number
of members in each Thromde Tshogde.

Power and Authority

78. The Delimitation Commission shall have the power to
determine and regulate its procedures.

79. The Delimitation Commission shall have power to require
a person to furnish any information on such points or
matters as in the opinion of the Commission are useful for,
or relevant to, any matter under its consideration.

80. The Delimitation Commission may authorize any of its
members to exercise any of the powers conferred on it
under this Act, and any order made or act done in the
exercise of any of those powers shall be deemed to be the
order or act of the Commission.

Composition of the Delimitation Commission

81. The Delimitation Commission shall consist of the:

(a) Chief Election Commissioner;

(b) Two Election Commissioners;

(c) Secretary, Ministry responsible for Urban and
Municipal Administration;

(d) Secretary, Ministry responsible for Civil Registration
and Census; and

(e) Surveyor-General.

Meeting of the Delimitation Commission

82. The Chief Election Commissioner may at any time
convene a meeting of the Delimitation Commission and
shall preside over all such meetings.

83. Presence of all members shall constitute quorum at a
meeting of the Delimitation Commission.

84. The Chief Election Commissioner presiding over a
meeting of the Delimitation Commission shall have a
deliberative vote and in the case of a tie, cast a deciding
vote.

85. All decisions of the Delimitation Commission shall be
taken by a majority vote among its members.

Delimitation of Constituencies

86. The Delimitation Commission shall divide each
Dzongkhag, Gewog, and Dzongkhag Thromde into
relevant constituencies and delimit them on the basis of the
registered voters after giving due regard to the provisions
of the Constitution, the provisions of this Act, in
accordance with the established Rules and Regulations and
the following:

(a) The existing boundaries of the administrative units;

(b) All constituencies of the same group, as far as
practicable, have equal registered voter population
and be geographically compact areas;

(c) The means of communication and travel within a
constituency;

(d) The geographical conditions of a constituency; and

(e) Maintenance of an unbroken and inter-connected
constituency as far as possible.

87. The Delimitation Commission shall:

(a) Publish its proposals for the delimitation of
constituencies, together with the dissenting
proposals, if any, of any member who desires
publication thereof;

(b) Specify a date on or after which the proposals be
further considered by it;

(c) Consider all objections and suggestions which may
have been received by it before the date so specified,
and for the purpose of such consideration, hold
public sittings at the place or places as it deems fit;
and

(d) Thereafter by one or more orders determine the
delimitation of the constituencies.

Publication of Orders and their Date of Operation

88. The Delimitation Commission shall for the purposes of
section 87:

(a) Issue orders by notification;

(b) Publish the order in a national newspaper;

(c) Broadcast it on radio, television and other media of
mass communication; and

(d) Affix the notified version of orders relating to the
area under its jurisdiction at a prominent place.

89. The Delimitation Commission shall simultaneously
forward duly authenticated copies of each of its orders
made under section 87 before both Houses of Parliament,
to the concerned Local Governments for similar action,
and to the Election Commission for appropriate action.

Re-adjustment in Number of Members of National
Assembly and Local Governments

90. The Delimitation Commission shall after giving due regard
to the relevant provisions of the Constitution and this Act,
allocate and readjust the seats to the National Assembly,
the number of Tshogpas in each Gewog Tshogde, the
number of members in each Thromde Tshogde and the
division of Dzongkhags, Gewogs, and Dzongkhag
Thromdes into territorial constituencies after every ten
years.

91. The readjustment made under section 90 shall not affect
representation in the National Assembly, Dzongkhag
Tshogdu, Gewog Tshogde or Thromde Tshogde until the
dissolution of the then existing National Assembly,
Dzongkhag Tshogdu or Gewog or Thromde Tshogde.

92. The Delimitation Commission shall publish each of its
orders made under section 90 in the manners specified in
section 88.

93. The Delimitation Commission shall simultaneously
forward duly authenticated copies of each of its orders
made under section 90 before both Houses of Parliament,
and to the concerned Local Government for similar action,
and to the Election Commission for appropriate action.

94. The delimitation of the constituencies as determined under
section 90 shall not affect elections of new members to fill
vacancies arising in Parliament or Local Government then
in existence.

95. Every order of the Delimitation Commission shall, on
issue of notification, have the force of law and not be
called in question in any Court or tribunal on any ground
including the ground of refusal or failure to make an order.

96. A person who improperly influences a member of the
Delimitation Commission or the member who is
influenced by such act in the performance of his/her duties
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

Power of the Election Commission to Amend the
Delimitation Order

97. The Election Commission shall consolidate all orders of
the Delimitation Commission under section 87 into one
single Order to be called the Delimitation of Parliamentary
and Local Government Constituencies Order.

98. The Election Commission may, from time to time for
updating the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Local
Government Constituencies Order, make amendments by
notification, if necessary:

(a) For correcting any printing mistake or any
inadvertent omission; or

(b) Where boundaries or names of any Dzongkhag,
Gewog, Chiwog or any territorial division mentioned
in the said Order are altered.

Provided that the boundaries or areas or extent of any
constituency shall not be changed by such notification.

99. Every notification under section 98 shall be placed before
both Houses of Parliament, for information, and the
Delimitation Commission shall provide further publicity as
specified under section 88.

CHAPTER 6

VOTERS

Qualifications of Voters

100. Every person who is a citizen of Bhutan as evidenced by a
citizenship identity card shall be entitled to be registered as
a voter for a constituency, if such a person is:

(a) Not younger than eighteen years of age on the
qualifying date as specified by the Election
Commission;

(b) Registered in the civil registry of the Government
pertaining to that constituency and having his/her
Gung or Mitsi in that place for not less than one year
before the qualifying date; and

(c) Not otherwise disqualified from voting under this
Act or any other law in force in Bhutan.

101. No person shall be entitled to be registered in the Electoral
Roll for more than one constituency or in the Electoral
Roll for the same constituency more than once, at any
given point of time.

Disqualifications for Voters

102. A person shall be disqualified for registration in the
Electoral Roll of a constituency, if such a person is:

(a) Not a citizen of Bhutan;

(b) Of unsound mind and stands so declared by a
competent Court; or

(c) For the time being disqualified from voting under
this Act or any other law in force in Bhutan.

103. A person who becomes disqualified after registration of
his/her name in the Electoral Roll shall forthwith be struck
off the Electoral Roll in which it is included.

Provided that the name of any person struck off from an
Electoral Roll of a constituency by reason of any
disqualification incurred under this Act shall forthwith be
reinstated in that Electoral Roll, if the disqualification is
removed under a law authorizing its removal.

CHAPTER 7

ELECTORAL ROLLS

Electoral Rolls for Parliamentary Constituencies

104. There shall be one general Electoral Roll for every
Parliamentary constituency and no person can claim to be
included in any special Electoral Roll for any constituency,
or be ineligible for inclusion in the general Electoral Roll
for a constituency, on grounds of religion, gender,
language, politics or other status.

Preparation of Electoral Rolls for Parliamentary
Constituencies

105. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer for the
constituency shall, subject to the superintendence,
direction and control of the Dzongkhag Electoral Officer
and with such assistance as he/she may require from the
Department of Civil Registration, prepare Electoral Roll
for every Parliamentary/Local Government constituency as
prescribed by the Rules made under this Act with
reference to the qualifying date.

106. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer may on an
application made to him/her or on his/her own motion for
the purposes of section 105:

(a) Seek any information or ask for declaration of
records for determining whether a person is entitled
to be registered in the Electoral Roll; and

(b) Inspect records in whatever form and make copies of
pertinent information contained in the records for the
registration of a person in the Electoral Roll.

107. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer with the
approval of the Dzongkhag Electoral Officer may refuse to
include a person’s name in the Electoral Roll if he/she is of
the opinion that the name is:

(a) Fictitious;

(b) Not the name specified in the citizenship identity
card; or

(c) Not eligible to be included in the Electoral Roll
under the Constitution or this Act.

108. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer who refuses
to include a person’s name in the Electoral Roll must
notify the person in writing of the refusal within ten days
of the decision.

Voter Photo Identity Card (VPIC)

109. Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer shall issue a
VPIC in a prescribed form upon registration of a voter
under this Act.

110. The voter photo identity card issued by the Dzongkhag
Electoral Registration Officer shall be sufficient evidence
of the facts stated therein and a document purporting to be
such card shall be presumed to be one, unless the contrary
is proved.

111. The Electoral Roll prepared for any Parliamentary
constituency shall come into force immediately upon its
final publication in accordance with the Rules made under
this Act.

Public Inspection of the Electoral Roll

112. An Electoral Roll for the constituency shall be published
and made available for public inspection during office
hours at the office of the concerned Dzongkhag Electoral
Registration Officer and at any other place as the Election
Commission may determine.

113. All claims and objections raised in connection with the
Electoral Rolls shall be presented to the Dzongkhag
Electoral Officer within 10 days of its publication under
section 112.

114. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer shall call
upon the objector to give proof of the grounds of the
objection where an objection is made to the inclusion of
name in the Electoral Roll.

115. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer shall, in the
case the objection is to the inclusion of name in the
Electoral Roll, without calling upon the person to prove
his/her entitlement, retain his/her name in the roll, if the
objector on date of inquiry fails to appear or give such
proof in this regard.

116. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer shall, in
case the claim is for insertion of a name in the Electoral
Roll, require the proof of entitlement of the claimant.

117. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer shall,
overrule the objection if in his/her opinion the objection is
made without reasonable cause and he/she may forward
the matter to the Dzongkhag Court concerned for
appropriate action.

118. The final Electoral Roll for the constituency shall be
published and made available for public inspection in the
manner prescribed after the expiry of the period of claims
and objections.

Revision of Electoral Rolls for Parliamentary Constituencies

119. The Electoral Roll for any Parliamentary constituency
shall be revised when necessary in the prescribed manner
by reference to the qualifying date:

(a) Before each election to the National Council or the
National Assembly;

(b) Before each bye-election to fill a casual vacancy in
the seat allotted to the constituency in the National
Council or the National Assembly; and

(c) In any year, if directed by the Commission.

Provided that if the Electoral Roll is not revised as
aforesaid, the validity or continued operation of the said
Electoral Roll shall not thereby be affected.

120. The Election Commission may at any time,
notwithstanding anything contained in section 119, for
reasons to be recorded, direct a special revision of the
Electoral Roll for any Parliamentary constituency or part
of a Parliamentary constituency in the manner as it may
deem fit.

Provided that subject to the other provisions of this Act,
the Electoral Roll for the Parliamentary constituency, as in
force at the time of the issue of any direction, shall
continue to be in force until the completion of the special
revision so directed.

Authority to Add or Delete Name in the Electoral Roll

121. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer with the
approval of the Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall, in the
course of the process without prejudice to the generality of
the process of revision, have the authority to:

(a) Add the names of those persons who attain the age of
eighteen years;

(b) Remove or add the names of those who have
changed their constituency;

(c) Remove the names of those who have died;

(d) Strike out superfluous entry where the name of the
same voter appears more than once on the same
Electoral Roll or in the Electoral Roll of more than
one constituency;

(e) Reinstate any name removed by mistake; and

(f) Remove the names of those who have been declared
disqualified for voting or who are found to be
ineligible for inclusion in the Electoral Roll under the
Constitution or this Act.

Qualifying Date

122. The qualifying date shall, in relation to the preparation or
revision of Electoral Roll for any Parliamentary
constituency under this Chapter, mean either the first of
January, or first of April, or first of July, or first of October
of the year as may be specified by the Election
Commission for each preparation or revision.

Correction of Entries in Finally Published Electoral Rolls

123. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer with the
approval of the Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall amend,
transpose or delete the entry in the Electoral Roll for a
Parliamentary constituency, on an application made to
him/her or on his/her own motion, if he/she is satisfied
after an inquiry that any entry in the Electoral Roll of the
constituency as finally published after preparation or
revision:

(a) Is erroneous or defective in any particular;

(b) Should be transposed to another place in the
Electoral Roll on the ground that the person
concerned has moved within the constituency; or

(c) Should be deleted on the ground that the person
concerned is dead or has moved out of the
constituency or is otherwise not entitled to be
registered in that Electoral Roll.

Provided that before taking any action on any ground
under sub-section (a), (b) or (c), the Dzongkhag Electoral
Registration Officer shall give the person concerned a
reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of the
action proposed to be taken against him/her.

Inclusion of Names in Finally Published Electoral Rolls

124. The Dzongkhag Electoral Registration Officer with the
approval of the Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall on an
application made to him/her or on his/her own motion, if
he/she is satisfied after an inquiry that the name of any
eligible person is not included in the Electoral Roll of the
constituency as finally published after preparation or
revision, direct the name to be included in the Electoral
Roll.

Provided that if the name of the person is registered in the
Electoral Roll of any other constituency, the Dzongkhag
Electoral Registration Officer shall inform the Dzongkhag
Electoral Registration Officer of that other constituency
and the latter on receipt of the information shall strike off
that person’s name from that Electoral Roll.

Temporary Embargo on Entries in Electoral Rolls

125. No amendment, inclusion of name, transposition or
deletion of any entry in the Electoral Roll for a
Parliamentary constituency shall be made during a period
of thirty days before the date of poll for an election.

Appeals

126. An appeal shall lie within ten days to the Election
Commission, from any order of the Dzongkhag Electoral
Registration Officer under section 107, 121, 123 or 124.

127. Every appeal under section 126 shall be in the form of a
memorandum signed by the appellant and accompanied by
a copy of the order appealed from.

Electoral Rolls for National Council Constituencies

128. The Electoral Roll for a National Council constituency
shall consist of the Electoral Rolls for all Parliamentary
constituencies comprised within a Dzongkhag and a
separate preparation or revision of Electoral Roll for the
National Council constituency is not necessary.

Electoral Rolls for Gewogs, Chiwogs and Constituencies for
Dzongkhag Thromdes

129. The Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall, subject to any
general or special directions given by the Election
Commission, divide and sub-divide the Electoral Roll for a
constituency into such parts as may relate to a Gewog,
Chiwog or constituency for a Dzongkhag Thromde
comprised within a Parliamentary constituency so as to
form the Electoral Roll for a Gewog, Chiwog or
constituency for a Thromde for any election there from.

Use of Information from the Electoral Roll

130. No person shall use the information provided in the
Electoral Roll except in connection with elections or
referendums, research regarding electoral matters by the
Election Commission or as may be authorized by it.

CHAPTER 8

POLITICAL PARTIES

Registration with the Election Commission of a Party as
Political Party

131. A party of individual citizens of Bhutan calling itself a
political party and intending to contest elections under this
Act shall submit its application to the Election
Commission for its registration as a political party for the
purposes of this Act.

Guiding Principles of Political Parties

132. A political party registered with the Election Commission
shall ensure that national interest prevails over all other
interests and, for this purpose, provide choice to the
electorates based on national goals and aspirations of the
people.

133. An application for registration of a political party shall be
made to the Election Commission within one month of the
formation of the party.

134. An application submitted under section 133 shall be duly
signed by the chief executive officer of the party and
presented to the Registrar of Political Parties of the
Election Commission.

135. An application for registration shall contain:

(a) The name of the party and the list of its members;

(b) The name and pictorial design of the election symbol
which it proposes to register;

(c) The Dzongkhag in which its head office is situated;

(d) The address to which its letters and other
communications are to be sent;

(e) The names and addresses of its President, Secretary,
Treasurer and other office-bearers;

(f) Whether it has any local units, if so, at what levels;
and

(g) A copy of the Charter of the Party.

136. The copy of the Charter of the party submitted with the
application shall contain provisions that the party:

(a) Shall bear true faith and allegiance to the
Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan;

(b) Shall uphold the sovereignty, national security, unity
and integrity of the Kingdom;

(c) Shall demonstrate that the party is broad-based with
cross-national membership and support, and is
committed to national cohesion and stability;

(d) Is committed to the advancement of democracy and
the social, cultural, political and economic growth of
Bhutan;

(e) Does not restrict its membership based on region,
gender, language, religion, or other status; and

(f) Does not receive money or any assistance from
foreign sources, be it governmental, non-
governmental, private organizations, or from private
parties or individuals.

137. The Election Commission shall call for other particulars,
as it may deem fit, such as, the political principles on
which it is based, the policies, aims and objectives it
pursues or seeks to pursue.

138. A party shall neither apply for registration under a name of
a political party nor give the design of its symbol in the
subsequent election following the date of the dissolution of
such political party by the order of the Supreme Court or
removal from the Register of Political Parties by the
Election Commission under section 147.

139. The Election Commission shall refuse an application for
the registration of a party as a political party if, in its
opinion the:

(a) Charter of the party does not conform to the
provisions of section 136;

(b) Name or symbol of the party it has submitted is
obscene;

(c) Name or symbol of the party identifies with a
community, region or religion;

(d) Party is a business concern;

(e) Party has a military or paramilitary structure;

(f) Name or symbol of the party is the name or symbol,
or resembles the name or symbol, of another political
party which is already registered with the
Commission; or

(g) Name or symbol of the party contravenes any Rules
or Orders made thereunder.

140. The Election Commission shall decide either to register a
party as a political party for the purposes of this Act, or
refuse to register it after considering all the particulars as
aforesaid in its possession and giving the representatives
of the party reasonable opportunity of being heard.

141. The Election Commission shall communicate its decision
under section 140 to the concerned party and give
appropriate publicity and all such decisions of the
Commission shall be final and binding.

142. A party shall communicate any change in its head office,
office-bearers, address, and election symbol or change in
any other relevant information without delay to the
Election Commission.

Register of Political Parties

143. The Election Commission shall establish and maintain a
Register of Political Parties, which shall be open for public
inspection at the Secretariat of the Commission during
office hours and be available on the website of the
Commission.

144. A political party may make an application to the Election
Commission for changing the name of the party to a name
specified in the application or for changing any provision
in its Charter.

145. The Election Commission shall give the applicant party a
written notice where it determines that an application
under section 144 should be refused.

Provided that the Commission before refusing such an
application shall grant a reasonable opportunity of being
heard to the party concerned.

Dissolution of Political Party

146. A political party shall stand dissolved only by declaration
of the Supreme Court:

(a) If the objectives or activities of the political party are
in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution
of the Kingdom of Bhutan;

(b) If it has received money or assistance from foreign
sources;

(c) If it has solicited or resorted to collection of funds
from private individuals or any agency other than
from its registered members;

(d) On violation of this Act; or

(e) On any other ground as prescribed by Parliament or
under any law in force in Bhutan.

147. The Election Commission may remove the name of a
political party from the Register of Political Parties, if:

(a) It has obtained registration under section 133 by
practising fraud or forgery;

(b) It has contravened the Election Code of Conduct in
the manner prescribed in section 308;

(c) It has amended its name or charter in contravention
of section 144;

(d) It has intimated its desire to the Commission to be
struck off the Register of Political Parties;

(e) It has failed to secure at least ten percent of the total
valid votes cast at two successive primary rounds of
elections to the National Assembly other than bye-
elections; or

(f) There exists a ground where an enquiry is not
required to be made by the Commission.

148. An opposition party shall be elected, when the opposition
party stands dissolved under the Constitution:

(a) Within sixty days from the date of the dissolution of
the opposition party;

(b) From the parties registered with the Election
Commission in accordance with Section 4 of Article
15 of the Constitution; and

(c) Through an election and the party obtaining the
highest number of votes shall nominate its members
to fill the seats of those constituencies which stood
vacant on the dissolution of the original opposition
party.

Provided where the ruling party in the National Assembly
is dissolved under the provisions of the Election Act or
any other law, the National Assembly shall stand dissolved
and fresh elections held.

149. If only one letter of intent is submitted for contesting the
opposition party election, an uncontested election shall be
conducted.

150. The Ruling Party shall continue to function till completion
of the remaining term in office if no registered political
parties submit the Letter of Intent within the notified dates.

151. A political party dissolved under the Constitution shall be
deregistered from the register of political parties and such
parties shall not be allowed to contest in subsequent
elections.

Annual Account of Political Parties

152. A political party shall maintain a correct and up-to-date
account of all:

(a) Amounts received by, or on behalf of the party
during the financial year;

(b) Amounts paid by, or on behalf of the party during the
financial year; and

(c) Assets and liabilities accrued, by or on behalf of the
party, as at the end of the financial year.

153. Every political party shall, within three months after the
end of each financial year, furnish in the prescribed form a
true copy of the account under section 152 to the Election
Commission and a copy be made available for public
scrutiny in a manner prescribed by the Commission.

Membership to Political Parties

154. Every eligible voter shall be entitled to be a member and
be elected as an office-bearer of a political party.

Provided such person is not disqualified under any law
made by Parliament or has not been disqualified under
section 102.

155. A person shall not be member of more than one political
party at any given point of time.

156. The suspension or expulsion of the member of a political
party shall be determined in accordance with the party’s
charter.

Provided that before making an order of suspension or
expulsion of a member a reasonable opportunity of being
heard shall be granted.

Nomination of Candidates for Elections

157. The nomination of candidates for elections to National
Assembly must be by secret ballot and in the manner
prescribed by Rules made in this behalf.

Income of Political Parties

158. The income of political parties shall be made up of:

(a) Registration fee;

(b) Membership fees; and

(c) Voluntary contributions from registered members.

Registration Fee

159. A political party can impose registration fee which shall be
a one time payment made by a person intending to register
himself/herself as a member of that political party.

160. A political party shall provide for the fixation of the
registration fee in its Charter.

Membership fee

161. A political party may provide for the fixation of the
membership fee in its Charter.

Voluntary Contributions

162. A political party shall be entitled to accept voluntary
financial or in kind contributions made by any of its
registered members provided the value of such
contributions does not exceed the ceiling prescribed by the
Commission from time to time.

Chapter 9

Office of Profit

163. No person seeking election as member of Parliament or a
Local Government shall, at the time of filing his/her
nomination as candidate for such election, be the holder of
any office of profit, nor shall such person, if elected, hold
any office of profit so long as he/she continues as a
Member of Parliament or a Local Government, except as
provided hereunder.

Criteria for Determining an Office of Profit

164. An office shall, for the purpose of section 163, be deemed
to be an Office of Profit, if:

(a) Government exercises control over the appointment,
removal, performance and functions of the holder of
the office;

(b) Executive, judicial or legislative powers, except as
members of Parliament or a Local Government, are
exercised by the holder;

(c) Powers of disbursement of State funds, issue of
licences, awarding of contracts involving State funds
are exercised by the holder;

(d) Powers of appointment to posts under the control of
Government or a Local Government, grant of
scholarships involving State funds or State patronage
are exercised by the holder;

(e) Influence or power by way of state patronage is
vested in the holder; or

(f) Remuneration other than compensatory allowance is
given to the holder from the State funds.

Posts under the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan

165. A Member of Parliament or Local Government shall, so
long as he/she continues to be such member,
notwithstanding anything contained under section 166, not
be eligible to hold the following posts in any company
incorporated under the Companies Act of the Kingdom of
Bhutan:

(a) Chairman of Board of Directors;

(b) Director on the Board of Directors; and

(c) Chief Executive Officer.

Permissible Offices

166. The following persons shall not be deemed to be holding
an Office of Profit:

(a) Any Minister or a Member of Parliament or a Local
Government, notwithstanding anything contained in
section 164;

(b) Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the National
Assembly notwithstanding anything contained in
section 164;

(c) Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the National
Council or Local Governments notwithstanding
anything contained in section 164;

(d) Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly;

(e) Chairperson or members of any House Committee
established by Parliament or a Local Governments;

(f) Office bearer or member of a registered political
party;

(g) Chairperson and member of National Judicial
Commission under the Judicial Service Act 2007
notwithstanding anything contained in section 164;

(h) Member of any delegation or mission sent outside
Bhutan by the Government for any special purpose;

(i) Chairperson or Member of a Committee temporarily
set up for advising the Government on a matter of
public importance;

(j) A member of a statutory or non-statutory body not
entitled to any remuneration other than the
compensatory allowance; or

(k) Any person holding any other office declared not to
be an Office of Profit by or under an Act of
Parliament.

Decision on Disqualification

167. Any person may petition the Election Commission of
Bhutan to seek the disqualification of a:

(a) Candidate for election as a member of Parliament or
a Local Government, or

(b) Sitting Member of Parliament or a Local
Government, on the ground of holding an Office of
Profit.

168. The petitioner, under section 167, must furnish all relevant
information to the Election Commission.

169. The Election Commission shall have the authority to take
final decision on a petition relating to a candidate referred
to in section 167 (a); and if the Commission decides that
such candidate is disqualified on the ground of holding an
Office of Profit, the name of such candidate shall forthwith
be struck off the list of contesting candidates for the
election and he/she shall not be eligible to contest the
election.

170. In respect of a petition relating to a Member of Parliament
or a Local Government referred to in section 167 (b), the
Election Commission shall submit a recommendation
containing its opinion on the question raised to the High
Court.

171. The Election Commission shall, before submitting the
question under section 167 (b) to the High Court, give the
person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

172. The Election Commission shall, before taking any decision
under section 169 or submitting the question under section
170, on a petition under section 167, give the persons
concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

173. The High Court shall, based on the question submitted by
the Election Commission, hear the reference and provide
its opinion to the Commission.

Provided that such question referred to the High Court
should be based on a post-election disqualification.

174. The Election Commission shall have the authority to take
decision on a petition relating to the Office of Profit when
it is filed at the time of elections.

CHAPTER 10

QUALIFICATIONS AND DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR
CANDIDATES

Qualifications

175. The seats to the National Assembly, National Council and
Local Governments shall, in order to ensure formation of
an efficient, effective and responsible Parliament and
Local Governments and the establishment of a dynamic
and vibrant democratic government, be filled through
election of qualified registered voters possessing
qualification requirements laid down under this Act.

Qualifications of Candidates

176. A person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of
the National Assembly, if he/she:

(a) Is a citizen of Bhutan as evidenced by the citizenship
identity card;

(b) Is a registered voter of that constituency;

(c) Is of the minimum age of twenty five- years and not
more than maximum age of sixty-five years at the
time of filing the nomination; and

(d) Possesses a formal university degree.

177. A person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of
the National Council, if he/she:

(a) Is a citizen of Bhutan as evidenced by the citizenship
identity card;

(b) Is a registered voter of that constituency;

(c) Is of the minimum age of twenty-five years and not
more than maximum age of sixty-five years at the
time of filing the nomination;

(d) Possesses a formal university degree; and

(e) Does not belong to a political party.

178. A person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of a
Local Government, if he/she is:

(a) A citizen of Bhutan as evidenced by the citizenship
identity card;

(b) Is a registered voter of that constituency;

(c) Of the minimum age of twenty five years and not
more than maximum age of sixty-five years at the
time of filing the nomination;

(d) Functionally literate and possesses skills adequate to
discharge his/her duties, except the candidate for the
post of Thrompon must possess a formal university
degree; and

(e) Does not belong to a political party.

Disqualifications of Candidates

179. A person shall be disqualified as a candidate or a member
holding an elective office under the Constitution, if he/she:

(a) Has been convicted for any criminal offence and
sentenced to imprisonment;

(b) Has been found guilty of corrupt practice at an
election;

(c) Has been dismissed or removed from public service
or the corporate sector;

(d) Has failed to lodge account of election expenses
within the time and in the manner required by law
and has no good reason or justification for the
failure;

(e) Has solicited or resorted to any form of fund raising
for campaigning in an election to Parliament or Local
Governments from private individuals or any agency.

(f) Is married to a person who is not a citizen of Bhutan;

(g) Has been accused of felony in a pending case and the
competent Court has taken cognisance and charges
have been framed against him/her;

(h) Is in arrears of taxes or other dues to government;

(i) Has an existing contract with the government which
has not been fully performed;

(j) Is working as a civil servant;

(k) Holds any office of profit as prescribed under
Chapter 9 of this Act; or

(l) Is so disqualified under this Act.

180. The disqualifications referred to in section 179 (a), (b), (c),
(d), (e) and (f) shall be permanent.

Provided that the disqualification under sub-section (f)
shall cease to operate if the non-citizen spouse is granted
citizenship of Bhutan.

181. The disqualifications referred to in section 179 (g) shall
cease to operate from the date of acquittal by the Court.

182. The disqualification referred to in section 179 (h) shall
cease to operate on the full payment of the arrears of taxes
or other dues to government.

Provided that the pendency of any matter before a Court of
law regarding the payment of taxes or government dues
shall be of no excuse for any non-payment.

Ineligibility of a Member of the Royal Family to Participate
in the Electoral Process

183. A member of the Royal Family shall neither join a
political party nor participate in the electoral process
unless he/she renounces his/her status as a member of the
Royal Family.

Ineligibility of a Religious Personality to Participate in the
Electoral Process

184. A truelku, lam, any influential religious personality or
ordained members of any religion or religious institutions
excluding the laity, as determined/registered as religious
organizations or religious personalities under the
provisions of the Religious Organizations Act 2007, shall
neither join a political party nor participate in the electoral
process as they must remain above politics and can not use
their influence for the benefit of any party or candidate.

CHAPTER 11

DATES OF ELECTIONS

Election to the National Assembly

185. The National Assembly shall continue for five years from
the date of the first sitting of the House.

186. An election shall be held for constituting a new National
Assembly whenever the duration of the existing National
Assembly expires or it is prematurely dissolved.

187. The Election Commission shall, not later than ninety days,
before the date of expiration of duration of the National
Assembly, announce the date on which the Druk Gyalpo
shall issue by Royal Decree the notification calling the
election and setting the process of election in motion so as
to ensure that a new National Assembly is reconstituted
within ninety days after the date of expiration of its
duration.

Provided that in the case of premature dissolution of a
National Assembly, such announcement shall be made
after the dissolution so as to ensure that the new National
Assembly is reconstituted within ninety days of its
dissolution.

188. The Druk Gyalpo shall, for the purposes of section 187, by
one or more Royal Decrees, call upon all Parliamentary
constituencies to elect political parties and members in
accordance with the provisions of this Act and of the Rules
and Orders made thereunder on the date or dates
recommended by the Election Commission after giving
due regard to the provisions of section 186.

189. Elections to the National Assembly shall be held in two
rounds, namely:

(a) Primary Round, in which all registered political
parties shall be eligible to participate and contest;
and

(b) General Election, in which the two registered
political parties securing the highest number and the
next highest number of total valid votes cast in the
Primary Round throughout the Kingdom are declared
to be eligible to participate through nomination of
candidates to contest National Assembly seats.

Provided that the Primary Round shall be foregone and the
General Election conducted directly if only two registered
political parties submit the Letter of Intent.

Election to the National Council

190. The National Council shall complete its term which shall
be for five years from the date of the first sitting of the
House.

191. An election shall be held for constituting a new National
Council whenever the duration of the existing National
Council expires.

192. The Election Commission shall, not later than ninety days,
before the date of expiration of duration of the National
Council, announce the date on which the Druk Gyalpo
shall issue by Royal Decree the notification calling the
election and setting the process of election in motion so as
to ensure that a new National Council is reconstituted on
the date of expiration of duration of the existing National
Council.

193. The Druk Gyalpo shall, for the purposes of section 191, by
one or more Royal Decrees, call upon all National Council
constituencies to elect members in accordance with the
provisions of this Act and of the Rules and Orders made
thereunder, on the date or dates recommended by the
Election Commission after giving due regard to the
provisions of section 192.

Election to a Local Government

194. The Dzongkhag Tshogdu, the Gewog Tshogde and the
Thromde Tshogde, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue
for five years from the date of the first sitting of the
respective bodies.

195. An election shall be held for constituting a new Local
Government whenever the duration of the existing Local
Government expires or it is prematurely dissolved.

196. The Election Commission shall, not later than ninety days,
before the date of expiration of duration of a Local
Government, announce the date on which the Commission
shall issue the notification calling the election and setting
the process of election in motion so as to ensure that each
Local Government is reconstituted on the date of
expiration of duration of the existing Local Government.

Provided that in the case of premature dissolution, such
announcement shall be made after the dissolution so as to
ensure that a new Local Government is reconstituted
within ninety days of its dissolution.

197. The Election Commission shall, for the purposes of section
195, issue one or more notifications on the date or dates
decided by it and after giving due regard to the provisions
of section 196, call upon all Local Government
constituencies of the Local Government concerned to elect
members in accordance with the provisions of this Act and
of the Rules and Orders made thereunder.

Announcement of Dates for Nominations

198. The Election Commission shall, on issuing the notification
calling upon a constituency to elect a member under
section 188, 193, or 196, announce by notification the last
date for making nominations for elections to:

(a) The National Assembly, which shall be a date not
later than the thirtieth day after the declaration of
results of the primary round of election;

(b) The National Council, which shall be a date not later
than the thirtieth day after the date of issue of
notification under section 193; and

(c) A Local Government, which shall be a date not later
than the thirtieth day after the date of issue of
notification under section 196.

Provided in the case of the Primary Round of election the
party intending to contest an election shall submit a Letter
of Intent in the prescribed form to the Election
Commission which shall be a date not later than seventh
day after the date of issue of notification under section
188.

The Letter of Intent shall include a tentative list of
candidates that it may field in the General Election.

199. The scrutiny of nominations for any election to the
National Assembly, National Council or a Local
Government shall take place on the day immediately
following the last date for making nominations announced
by the Election Commission under section 198.

200. The last date for withdrawal of candidatures at any
election to the National Assembly, National Council or a
Local Government shall be the second day after the date
for the scrutiny of nominations under section 199.

Polling Dates

201. The Election Commission shall, by notification, announce
the last date or dates on which a poll shall be taken for any
election to:

(a) The National Assembly, which shall be a date not
later than thirtieth day after the issue of notification
under section 188, in the case of Primary Round of
election;

(b) The National Assembly, which shall be a date not
later than thirtieth day after the last date for
withdrawal of candidatures, in the case of General
Election;

(c) The National Council, which shall be a date not later
than thirtieth day after the last date for withdrawal of
candidatures; and

(d) The Local Government, which shall be a date not
later than thirtieth day after the last date for
withdrawal of candidatures.

202. The Election Commission shall, by notification under
section 201, announce the date before which any election
to the National Assembly, or a Local Government shall be
completed to ensure that the National Assembly or Local
Government is reconstituted within ninety days after its
dissolution.

Provided that in the case of the National Council, elections
shall be held so that it is re-constituted on the date of
expiry of the term.

203. The Election Commission may, notwithstanding anything
contained in section 198, 199, 200 or 201 for reasons to be
recorded in writing, extend the last date for making
nominations or postpone the date of scrutiny of
nominations to a later date, or extend the last date for
withdrawal of candidatures or postpone the date of poll at
any election to the National Assembly, National Council,
or a Local Government.

Public Notice of Election

204. The Returning Officer of the constituency concerned shall,
on notification being issued under section 198, give public
notice of the intended election in the prescribed form,
inviting nominations of candidates for the election and
specifying the place or places at which the nomination
papers are to be delivered and scrutinized, the notices of
withdrawal of candidatures are to be received and reserve
elections symbols for candidates.

CHAPTER 12

NOMINATIONS AND WITHDRAWAL OF
CANDIDATURES

Nomination of Candidates for Election

205. Any person may, if he/she is qualified under the provisions
of the Constitution and this Act, be nominated as a
candidate for election to fill a seat in the National
Assembly, National Council, or a Local Government.

206. No person shall, notwithstanding anything contained in
section 205, be nominated as a candidate for election to
fill:

(a) A seat in the National Assembly, unless he/she is
nominated by a registered political party;

(b) More than one seat in the same election;

(c) A seat in the National Council as well as the National
Assembly or Local Government at the same time; or

(d) A seat in the National Council or Local Government
if he/she belongs to any political party.

Provided that the disqualification under sub-section (d)
shall cease to operate after the lapse of one year from the
date of acceptance of the application of resignation or
removal from the membership of a political party and such
resignation or removal shall be immediately notified by
the concerned party office in the print media with a copy
submitted to the Election Commission.

Nomination of Candidates by Political Parties

207. A political party shall be entitled to nominate candidates
only equal to the number of seats in the National
Assembly.

Requirements for a Valid Nomination

208. Each candidate shall, on or before the last date announced
under section 198, deliver to the Returning Officer of the
constituency concerned in person between 9.30 a.m. to
4.00 p.m., a nomination paper duly completed in all
respects in the prescribed form and signed by the
candidate, at the place specified in this behalf.

209. A person shall be deemed to be duly nominated to contest
an election to the National Assembly, by a registered
political party, if:

(a) He/She has made declaration to this effect in his/her
nomination paper;

(b) He/She is a member of that political party and his/her
name is borne on the list of members of the party;

(c) He/She is a member of a registered political party
which could not qualify for the General Elections but
is admitted as a member and nominated as a
candidate by a political party to contest in the
General Election. However, his/her membership in
the original political party shall be forfeited;

(d) A notice in writing, in a prescribed form, to that
effect has, not later than by 5.00 p.m. on the last date
for making nominations, been delivered by the party
to the Returning Officer of the constituency and to
the Election Commission;

(e) The said notice is signed by the President, the
Secretary or any other office bearer of the party and
the President, Secretary or any other office bearer is
authorized by the party to send the notice;

(f) The name and signature of the office bearer or
authorized person are communicated, in a prescribed
form, to the Returning Officer of the constituency
not later than by 5.00 p.m. on the last date for
making nominations; and

(g) The forms, referred to in sub-section (c) and (d), are
signed by the said office bearer or person authorized
by the party.

210. The Returning Officer shall, on the presentation of a
nomination paper, satisfy himself/herself that the name
and Voter Photo Identity Card number of the candidate as
entered in the nomination paper are the same as those
entered in the Electoral Roll.

Provided that no misnomer or inaccurate description or
clerical, technical or printing error in regard to the name of
the candidate or in regard to any place, mentioned in the
Electoral Roll or the nomination paper, shall affect the full
operation of the Electoral Roll or the nomination paper.

211. The Returning Officer shall, on receiving the nomination
paper:

(a) Inform the Candidate of the date, time and place
fixed for its scrutiny;

(b) Enter on the nomination paper its serial number; and

(c) Sign thereon a certificate stating the date and hour
the nomination paper has been delivered to him/her.

212. The Returning Officer shall prepare, in a prescribed form,
the list of candidates, who have filed their nominations on
that day and affix it to his/her notice board after 4.00 p.m.
on each of the days fixed for making of nominations.

Right to Information of Voters

213. Every candidate for an election to the National Assembly,
National Council, or a Local Government shall, in order to
provide for an informed choice by the voter, file along
with his/her nomination paper, an affidavit in the
prescribed form declaring:

(a) His/Her profession, annual income, movable and
immovable assets and liabilities including
government dues of himself/herself, his/her spouse
and dependent children;

(b) His/Her bio-data and educational qualifications;

(c) His/Her non-criminal conviction record; and

(d) Details of all criminal cases pending against him/her,
if any, for an offence punishable with imprisonment
and in which the charges are framed against him/her
or a Court of competent jurisdiction has taken
cognisance of offence he/she is accused of, prior to
the date of filing of a nomination.

214. The Returning Officer shall, on the receipt of the affidavit
of the candidate, display the same by affixing a copy
thereof at a prominent place in his/her office for public
inspection and publish the relevant content of the affidavit
at least in one national newspaper for the information of
the voters of that constituency.

215. The Returning Officer shall, if a person who has bonafide
reason to believe points out any discrepancy by filing an
affidavit that the information furnished by a candidate in
his/her affidavit is inaccurate or incomplete or has been
suppressed substantially, give publicity in accordance with
section 214.

Scrutiny of Nominations

216. The candidates and election representatives duly
authorized in writing by each candidate, but no other
person, may attend the scrutiny proceedings at the time
and place fixed and notified.

217. The Returning Officer shall provide all reasonable
facilities for examining the nomination papers of all
candidates which have been delivered within the time and
in the manner laid down in this Act.

218. The Returning Officer shall examine the nomination
papers of each candidate and decide all objections which
may be made to any nomination and may, either on such
objection or on his/her own motion, after a summary
inquiry, reject any nomination on the ground that:

(a) On the date fixed for the scrutiny of nominations, the
candidate is either not qualified or is disqualified for
being chosen to fill the seat under the Constitution or
this Act or under any other law;

(b) There has been a failure to comply with the
provisions of sections 206, 208, 209, 210, or 213; or

(c) The signature of the candidate on the nomination
paper is not genuine.

219. The Returning Officer shall not reject any nomination
paper on the ground of any defect which is not of a
substantial character.

220. The Returning Officer shall hold the scrutiny on the date
fixed without allowing any adjournment of the
proceedings except when the proceedings are interrupted
or obstructed by riot or open violence or by causes beyond
his/her control.

221. The candidate concerned shall, in the case wherein an
objection is raised by the Returning Officer or by any
other person in relation to the nomination of a candidate,
be allowed time to rebut it not later than 12 p.m. on that
fixed date for the withdrawal of candidature.

222. The Returning Officer shall endorse on each nomination
paper his/her decision accepting or rejecting the same in
writing stating his/her reasons for such acceptance or
rejection.

223. The Returning Officer shall, after all nomination papers
have been scrutinized and the decision either to accept or
reject have been recorded, prepare in a prescribed form, a
list of validly nominated candidates and affix it to his/her
notice board.

Provided that the preparation of such list shall not be
deferred on the ground that the scrutiny proceeding in
relation to the nomination of any candidate has been
adjourned under the section 220.

224. The list prepared under section 223 shall contain the
names of all those candidates whose nominations have
been found valid on scrutiny before adjournment and a
supplementary list be prepared, where necessary, if the
nomination of the candidate objected to is found valid on
subsequent scrutiny.

Withdrawal of Candidatures

225. Any candidate whose nomination has been found valid on
scrutiny may withdraw his/her candidature by a notice in
writing and such notice shall be delivered to the Returning
Officer either by the candidate in person or by a party,
who has been authorized in this behalf, before the last date
for the withdrawal of candidature.

Provided a political party which has submitted its Letter of
Intent may withdraw from the election by a notice in
writing delivered to the Returning Officer before expiry of
the second day after the last date of submission of the
Letter of Intent.

226. No person who has given a notice of withdrawal of his/her
candidature shall be allowed to cancel the notice.

227. The Returning Officer shall affix the notice of withdrawal
at prominent place in his/her office, on being satisfied as to
the genuineness of the notice and the identity of the person
delivering it.

228. All subsequent nomination of a candidate by any other
political party after withdrawal of his/her first valid
nomination shall be considered void.

229. No political party shall be empowered to withdraw the
nomination of its candidate once duly nominated, except
with the written consent of the concerned candidate.

Reservation of Symbols for Contesting Candidates

230. The Returning Officer shall, subject to any general or
special directions of the Election Commission in this
behalf, reserve a separate election symbol for each
contesting candidate, immediately after the expiry of the
period within which candidatures may be withdrawn under
section 200.

Provided that the candidates nominated by registered
political parties shall be allowed to use the respective
symbols reserved for their parties by the Election
Commission.

Publication of List of Contesting Candidates

231. The Returning Officer shall, on reserving symbols for
contesting candidates, prepare and publish in the
prescribed form a list of validly nominated candidates,
who have not withdrawn their candidature within the time
and in the manner prescribed under section 200.

232. The list of validly nominated candidates shall be arranged
in alphabetical order showing their addresses, election
symbols and name of party in case of General Elections,
together with other particulars as prescribed.

Death or Cancellation of Candidate of Registered Political
Party before Poll

233. The Returning Officer shall, if a candidate nominated by a
registered political party, whose nomination is found valid
on scrutiny and who has not withdrawn his/her candidature
dies at any time before the commencement of poll,
forthwith report the matter to the Election Commission.

234. The Election Commission shall, on receipt of the report
under section 233, call upon such political party to
nominate another candidate for the said election within
seven days of the issue of the notice by the Commission to
that party, and the provisions of sections 205 to 224 shall
apply in relation to such fresh nomination as they would
apply to other nominations.

Provided that the Commission may postpone the date of
poll in the constituency if considered necessary.

235. A person, who had earlier withdrawn his/her candidature
under section 200, may be nominated by that political
party for the purpose of section 234.

236. The Returning Officer shall again prepare and publish a
fresh list of contesting candidates so as to include the
name of the candidate who has been validly nominated
under section 234, where a list of contesting candidates
has already been published before the death of the
candidate.

In the case of cancellation of a candidature, the Election
Commission shall, while applying the provisions of
sections 205 to 224:

(a) Call upon the concerned political party to nominate a
replacement candidate for the said election within
seven days of the issue of the notice by the
Commission to that party, in the case of cancellation
of candidature in a General Election;

(b) Call upon the concerned Gewog or Dzongkhag
Thromde to nominate a replacement candidate for
the said election within seven days of the issue of the
notice by the Commission, in the case of cancellation
of candidature in a National Council Election; and

(c) Call upon the concerned Gewog Tshogde or
Thromde Tshogde constituency to nominate a
replacement candidate for the said election within
seven days of the issue of the notice, in the case of
cancellation of candidature in a Local Government
Election.

Provided that the Commission may postpone the date of
poll in the constituency if considered necessary.

Appeals from Orders of Returning Officers

237. An appeal can be made from every order of the Returning
Officer accepting or rejecting a nomination under section
222 to the Election Commission.

238. An appeal may be filed either by the candidate whose
nomination has been rejected or by the candidate whose
objection in relation to the nomination of a rival candidate
was not accepted by the Returning Officer.

239. An appeal shall be presented to the appellate authority
within ten days from the date of the order appealed from.

Provided that the appellate authority may condone the
delay in the presentation of appeal if it is satisfied that the
appellant had sufficient cause for not presenting it within
the time prescribed.

240. An appeal shall be:

(a) Made in the form of a memorandum signed by the
appellant stating the grounds on which the appeal is
based;

(b) Accompanied by a true copy of the order; and

(c) Accompanied by true copies of all documents in
support of his/her appeal.

241. The appellate authority shall, upon holding an inquiry or
hearing as deemed appropriate, make every endeavour to
decide the appeal within five days of its receipt.

242. The decision of the appellate authority shall be final and
binding during the period of elections.

243. The decision of the appellate authority shall be
communicated to the parties to the appeal and to the
Returning Officer.

Provided that such order may be called in question after
the completion of the election by means of an election
petition in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

244. The Returning Officer shall, where the appellate authority
accepts an appeal, forthwith suitably revise the list of
contesting candidates to give effect to the decision of the
appellate authority, give notice of the revised list to all
contesting candidates and publish a copy thereof in the
same manner as prescribed for the publication of the
original list of contesting candidates.

CHAPTER 13

REPRESENTATIVES OF CANDIDATES

Election Representatives

245. A registered political party may appoint any one person in
each constituency to be its election representative and shall
give notice of the appointment in the prescribed manner to
the Returning Officer.

Provided that where a political party makes the
appointment of its election representative in any
constituency, the candidate nominated by the party in that
constituency shall not be permitted to appoint any other
person to be his/her election representative.

246. A candidate at an election may appoint any one person to
be his/her election representative and shall give notice of
the appointment in the prescribed manner to the Returning
Officer.

247. No person shall be appointed as an election representative
unless the name of the person is borne on the Electoral
Roll of the constituency concerned.

248. An election representative may perform functions in
connection with the election as are authorized under this
Act to be performed by an election representative.

249. The candidate or the registered political party shall be
liable for all acts of commission and omission of their
election representative and shall incur civil or criminal
liability in respect of any act done by the election
representative in connection with the election.

Disqualification for Election Representative

250. Any person who is for the time being not qualified or is
disqualified under the Constitution or under this Act for
being elected as a member of a Local Government or for
voting at elections, shall be disqualified for being an
election representative at any election during the period the
disqualification subsist.

Resignation, Death or Revocation of Appointment of an
Election Representative

251. The candidate or the registered political party may revoke
the appointment of their election representative.

252. Revocation of an appointment of an election representative
shall be signed by the candidate or the political party and
operate from the date on which it is lodged with the
Returning Officer.

253. The candidate or the political party concerned may, in the
event of revocation, or resignation or death of an election
representative before or during or after the election,
appoint in the prescribed manner another person to be their
election representative.

Provided that the event occurs before the account of the
election expenses of the candidate or the political party
concerned has been lodged.

Appointment of Polling Representatives

254. A contesting candidate, a registered political party or their
election representative may appoint one or two polling
representatives at each polling station in the prescribed
manner.

Provided that where a political party makes the
appointment of its polling representative in any
constituency, the candidate nominated by such party or
his/her election representative in that constituency shall
not be permitted to appoint any other person to be his/her
polling representative.

255. Only one of the polling representatives of each candidate
or each political party shall remain present in the polling
station at any point of time.

256. Revocation of an appointment of a polling representative
shall be signed by the candidate or the political party and
operate from the date on which it is lodged with the
Returning Officer.

257. The candidate, political party or their election
representative may, in the event of revocation, resignation
or death of a polling representative before the close of the
poll, appoint in the prescribed manner, another polling
representative.

Appointment of Counting Representatives

258. A contesting candidate, a registered political party or their
election representative may appoint one or more counting
representative not exceeding the number as specified by
the Election Commission, to be present at the counting of
votes. When any appointment is made, notice of the
appointment shall be given in the prescribed form to the
Returning Officer.

Provided that where a political party makes the
appointment of its counting representative in any
constituency, the candidate nominated by the party or
his/her election representative in that constituency shall
not be permitted to appoint any other person to be his/her
counting representative.

259. Revocation of an appointment of a counting representative
shall be signed by the candidate or the political party and
operate from the date on which it is lodged with the
Returning Officer.

260. The candidate, political party or their election
representative may, in the event of revocation, resignation
or death of a counting representative before the
commencement of the counting of votes, appoint in the
prescribed manner, another counting representative before
the commencement of the counting of votes.

Functions of Polling Representatives

261. A polling representative may perform functions in
connection with the poll as are authorized under this Act to
be performed by a polling representative.

Functions of Counting Representatives

262. A counting representative may perform functions in
connection with the counting of votes as are authorized
under this Act to be performed by a counting
representative.

Functions of a Contesting Candidate or his/her Election
Representative

263. A contesting candidate or his/her election representative or
the election representative of the registered political party
shall have the right to be present at any polling station for
the taking of poll or at the place fixed for the counting of
votes at every election where a poll is conducted.

264. A contesting candidate, registered political party or their
election representative may perform any act which their
polling or counting representative would have been
authorized under this Act or may assist the counting or
polling representative in the performance of their
functions.

Non-attendance of Polling or Counting Representative

265. The non-attendance by any polling or counting
representative shall, where an act is required or authorized
under this Act to be done in the presence of such
representative, not invalidate the act, if it is otherwise duly
done.

Register of Representatives

266. Every Returning Officer shall maintain a Register of
Representatives updated regularly and containing the name
and address of every election, polling and counting
representative appointed by a candidate or a registered
political party.

CHAPTER 14

ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Election Campaign and Campaign Period

267. Every candidate and registered political party shall, subject
to any restrictions imposed by this Act or under any law,
be free to conduct an election campaign in the manner
deemed appropriate by them.

268. The election campaign shall be permitted to commence
from the date of issue of notification by a Royal Decree
calling an election as announced, or notified in the case of
Local Government elections by the Election Commission
and end forty-eight hours prior to the hour fixed for the
commencement of poll for the election.

269. A registered political party may, on the announcement of
an election by the Election Commission, announce the
strength of its party based on leadership and membership,
its past performance and issue a manifesto detailing the
programmes and policies it would implement if elected.

Allocation of Equitable Time on Electronic Media

270. The Election Commission shall allocate equitable time to
all registered political parties on the cable television
network and other electronic media to display or propagate
any election matter or to address public in connection with
election during the period of campaign.

Provided in the case of Primary Round of elections to the
National Assembly allocation of equitable time shall be
made after the issue of Royal Decree calling upon all
Parliamentary constituencies to elect political parties.

271. The allocation of equitable time in respect of an election
shall be made after the publication of list of contesting
candidates for the election and be valid till forty-eight
hours prior to the hour fixed for the commencement of poll
for an election.

272. The allocation of equitable time shall be binding on all
political parties and candidates concerned.

273. The Election Commission may, for the purpose of this
section, formulate a code of conduct for cable operators,
electronic media and every person managing or
responsible for the management of the cable operations
and electronic media.

274. Any cable operator or person managing or responsible for
the management of the electronic media contravening the
code of conduct, as referred to in section 273, shall be
guilty of the offence of misdemeanour and be liable for
cancellation of the licence.

275. The decision of the Election Commission on the question
of allocation of equitable time on electronic media among
broadcasters, political parties and candidates shall be final
and binding.

Broadcasting from Outside Bhutan

276. Any political party, candidate or their supporter
sponsoring the broadcast of election advertising from
outside Bhutan shall be guilty of the offence of
misdemeanour.

CHAPTER 15

PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING

State Funding of Elections

277. Parliament shall establish by law, a Public Election Fund
into which shall be paid every year such amount as the
Election Commission may consider appropriate for
funding registered political parties and candidates at
elections to Parliament.

278. The Election Commission shall make the payment out of
the Public Election Fund in a non-discriminatory manner
to the registered political parties and candidates in
accordance with law made by Parliament.

Political Parties entitled to accept Contributions

279. A political party shall, subject to the provisions of any
other law, only accept contribution voluntarily offered to it
by any of its registered members of such amount not
exceeding the total ceiling fixed by the Election
Commission.

Contributions

280. The Election Commission shall fix the ceiling on
contribution that party members may make to registered
political parties participating in elections to the National
Assembly.

Provided that all such contributions shall be made
voluntarily and must not be given to receive any favours,
political or otherwise and provided further that all such
contributions shall be made by cheques and must be
declared before the Commission.

281. No person shall receive any contribution from any member
of the party or on behalf of any registered political party,
unless the person has been authorized in writing in this
behalf by the concerned party and such contributions are
accounted for and in keeping with other provisions of this
Act.

282. Any person contravening the provisions of section 280 or
281 shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree and the political party liable for action under
section 146.

Maximum Limits of Election Expenses

283. The Election Commission shall, from time to time, fix the
maximum limits of election expenses that may be incurred
or authorized by registered political parties and candidates
taking part in elections to Parliament and Local
Governments, including the funds received from the
Election Commission.

284. Every candidate and registered political party shall
maintain the day-to-day accounts in a prescribed form of
all contributions received and all expenses incurred or
authorized in relation to the election from the date the
election is announced by the Election Commission and till
the date of declaration of result of the election.

285. No person shall incur or authorize any election expenses
for or on behalf of any candidate or registered political
party, unless the person has been authorized in writing in
this behalf by the candidate or his/her election
representative or by the party concerned or its election
representative.

286. Any person contravening the provisions of section 284 or
285 shall be guilty of the offence of the felony of the
fourth degree and in the case of the political party be liable
for action under section 146.

Time limit for Filing of Return of Election Expenses

287. Every candidate and registered political party shall, within
thirty days of the declaration of result of an election,
furnish to the Election Commission a return, in the
prescribed form, setting out the relevant details of all
contributions received by the candidate or party and all
expenditure incurred or authorized by him/her or it in
relation to elections.

288. If any candidate or a political party contravenes section
287, the candidate shall be liable for action under section
180 and the political party liable under section 146.

CHAPTER 16

ELECTION CODE OF CONDUCT

Election Code of Conduct

289. The political parties and candidates shall, in order to
maintain a healthy electoral system and to ensure that the
election campaigns are carried out in a lawful, peaceful
and orderly manner for a free and fair election, abide by
the Election Code of Conduct herein prescribed.

Election Code of Conduct for Political Parties and
Candidates

290. Political parties at all times shall uphold the rights and
freedoms of the people as guaranteed by the Constitution
and provide equal opportunity to qualified persons to
participate in electoral activities.

291. No candidate or political party shall permit any other
person to carry out election campaign on his/her or its
behalf, except by persons authorized under this Act.

292. No person including candidates or the members of the
political parties shall wear their Kabney during the
electoral campaign in public.

293. Every political party and candidate shall:

(a) Strive to maintain the highest standards of integrity,
truthfulness, selflessness, loyalty and patriotism;

(b) Avoid discrimination and not dispense special
favours to any community or person or group of
persons on grounds of gender, religion or any other
reason;

(c) Not indulge in any activity, which may create ill-
will, differences or cause tension between different
communities, religious or linguistic groups; and

(d) Ensure that their supporters do not indulge in any
unlawful act or corrupt practice.

294. Every political party, candidate and their representatives at
all forums and at all times shall avoid defamatory and
derogatory attacks on rival parties or individual
personalities through any form of communication and
avoid the use of inflammatory language, provocative
actions, images or manifestation that incite violence,
hatred or intimidation against another party or candidate or
any person or group of persons.

295. No political party or candidate shall permit their
supporters to make use of any public property or private
property, without the owner’s written permission for
purposes of erecting flag-staffs, cut-outs, suspending
banners, pasting election posters and notices.

296. A political party or candidate organizing an election
meeting shall ascertain, in advance, if there are any
restrictive or prohibitory orders in force in the place
proposed for the meeting or in the localities through which
the party members pass and if any restrictive orders are in
force be strictly complied with.

297. A political party or candidate organizing a meeting shall
give advance intimation and receive approval from the
appropriate authorities of the venue and time of the
proposed meeting and their campaign schedule and
instruct their members and supporters that no dangerous
article that can be used to cause injury be brought to a
political meeting or any other political function and take
steps to ensure that there is no blockage or hindrance to
traffic and no cause is given for any other public
inconvenience.

298. No political party or candidate or any person acting with
their consent shall obstruct or disrupt, break up or in any
way interfere with a meeting or any campaign activity of
another political party or candidate or prevent any person
from participating in the activities of another party or
candidate.

299. No political party or its elected representatives in the
National Assembly or any official holding a public office
shall use their official position for influencing voters in
favour of or against any party or candidate.

300. No elected representative in Parliament, including
Ministers, or Members of Local Government shall
combine his/her official visit with electioneering work or
make use of official machinery or personnel during the
electioneering work or use any government transport, for
the furtherance of the interest of any party or candidate at
an election.

301. Members of Parliament, Members of Local Governments
or members of political parties and candidates shall not
enter any polling station or place of counting except in
their capacity as a voter or candidate or on obtaining valid
entry permit from the Election Commission.

302. All political parties, candidates and their representatives
on the day of poll shall:

(a) Co-operate with the officers on election duty to
ensure a peaceful and orderly polling;

(b) Co-operate with the officers on election duty to
ensure complete freedom to voters to exercise their
right to vote and without being subjected to any
annoyance or obstruction;

(c) Co-operate with the authorities in complying with
the restrictions to be imposed on the plying of
vehicles on the polling day and obtain permits for
them, which should be displayed prominently on
those vehicles;

(d) Supply to their authorized party workers suitable
badges or identity cards;

(e) Not canvass or display any poster, flag, symbol or
any other propaganda material;

(f) Not serve or distribute any food or drink to anyone,
except their duly appointed polling representatives,
at the polling station;

(g) Not solicit vote of any voter;

(h) Not induce any voter to refrain from voting for any
particular candidate;

(i) Not induce any voter not to vote at the election; and

(j) Not prevent or obstruct any voter from coming to the
polling station to vote.

303. All political parties and their candidates shall instruct their
representatives in attendance at polling stations and
counting places to perform their duties in accordance with
this Act and Rules and Regulations made thereunder.

304. No candidate, representative or member of a political party
shall engage in confrontation with officers on election duty
at the polling station or counting place.

305. No candidate or political party shall convene public
meetings and campaign on the day of the poll and during
forty-eight hours preceding the hour fixed for
commencement of poll.

306. Any complaint relating to processes and procedures at a
polling station or counting place shall either be routed
through the party’s election representative to the Presiding
Officer or Returning Officer or be made directly to an
officer of the Election Commission for appropriate
resolution of the matter.

Date of Enforcement of the Election Code of Conduct

307. The Election Code of Conduct prescribed under sections
290 to 306 shall come into force in relation to any election
to the National Assembly, National Council or a Local
Government from the date of announcement of election by
the Election Commission under section 188, 193, or 196
and continue to be in force until the completion of the
election in all respects.

Penalty for Contravention of the Code of Conduct

308. The Election Commission shall, if a registered political
party, or candidate, or their representatives contravene or
persist to contravene the Election Code of Conduct to an
extent that the contravention undermines the institution of
democracy, take action under section 147 and cancel the
nomination of the candidate, notwithstanding any other
penalty that may be imposed under this Act or any other
law.

Code of Conduct for Election Officers

309. Election Officer shall comply with the laws of the country
and ensure that the provisions of this Act or any Rules or
Order made thereunder are fully implemented in an
impartial and equitable manner.

310. Election Officer shall disclose any relationship that could
lead to a conflict of interest with his/her duties as an
Election Officer.

311. Election Officer shall not participate in any unauthorized
activity, including any private activity that could lead to an
actual or perceived conflict of interest with his/her duties
as an Election Officer.

312. Election Officer shall arrange for effective and reasonable
access to relevant documents and information within the
framework of this Act.

313. Election Officer shall ensure that every party, candidate,
voter and other participant in the election process be
treated in a neutral and unbiased manner.

314. Election Officer shall at all times conduct himself/herself
in an irreproachable manner, exercise sound judgment, and
observe the highest level of personal discretion.

315. Election Officer shall not accept any gift from a political
party, organization, or person involved in the election
process.

316. Election Officer shall reject any improper influences and
refrain from accepting directions relating to the
performance of his/her task, except as provided by law.

317. Election Officer shall not express a view on any subject
which is likely to be a political issue in the election.

318. Election Officer shall not communicate with any voter on
a matter of partisan significance or wear, carry, or display
any partisan party symbols or colours.

319. Election Officer shall respond to reasonable requests by
providing an explanation for a decision he/she takes in
connection with election process or a decision made in
connection with general operation.

320. Election Officer shall ensure that information is collected,
compiled, and published in a manner that is systematic,
clear, and unambiguous.

321. Election Officer shall do everything necessary, within the
framework of this Act, to ensure that all the information
that he/she compiles, uses, or publishes has a sound factual
basis.

322. Election Officer shall work to provide for every voter the
highest quality of service required to enable a voter to
exercise his/her right to vote with the least possible
inconvenience.

323. Election Officer shall provide all necessary assistance to
the physically challenged, such as the blind, physically
handicapped, illiterate, or those living in remote areas to
enable them to exercise their right to vote effectively.

Penalty for Contravention of Code of Conduct

324. The Election Commission shall take appropriate action
against an Election Officer who contravenes or persists to
contravene the Code of Conduct for Election Officers to an
extent that the contravention undermines the institution of
democracy.

325. Any action taken under section 324 may, notwithstanding
any other penalty that may be imposed under this Act or
any other law, include:

(a) Transfer;

(b) Withholding of increment;

(c) Suspension;

(d) Termination of service; or

(e) Prosecution in a court of law.

CHAPTER 17

CONDUCT OF POLL

Right to Vote

326. Every citizen of Bhutan whose name is registered in the
Electoral Roll of the constituency for the time being in
force shall, subject to the provisions of sections 327 and
328, have the right to vote for any political party or
candidate according to his/her own free will and choice in
any election from that constituency.

Provided that no person shall vote at an election if he/she
is subject to any disqualification for voting under this Act
or any other law in force even if his/her name is registered
in the Electoral Roll for the time being in force.

327. A person shall not vote more than once in an election and
the vote of a person who votes more than once shall be
void, notwithstanding that his/her name may have been
registered in the Electoral Roll for that constituency more
than once or registered in the Electoral Roll of more than
one constituency.

328. Failure of a voter to vote for any reason at any election
shall be deemed to be a waiver of his/her right to vote.

Polling Day a Public Holiday

329. The polling day at elections to Parliament and Local
Government shall be declared a public holiday.

Voting at Elections

330. A voter shall cast his/her vote in person at the polling
station through a secret ballot.

Provided that the Election Commission may, with regard
to the circumstances of each case, direct that the votes at
any election in a constituency be cast and recorded by
electronic voting machine (EVM).

Voting by Post by Specified Group of Voters

331. Votes may, notwithstanding anything contained in section
330, be cast by post or online by any of the following:

(a) Diplomats and persons working in the Embassies of
Bhutan abroad;

(b) Any person on special government duty who is for
the time being residing outside Bhutan for the
performance of the duty;

(c) Members of the Armed Forces of Bhutan;

(d) Any person on election duty;

(e) Civil servants;

(f) Students and trainees;

(g) The spouse or dependent of a person referred to in
sub-sections (a) to (e), if the spouse or dependent is
ordinarily residing with him/her; and

(h) Any other group of voters as specified by the
Election Commission in consultation with the
Government.

332. The votes shall be cast by persons referred to in section
331 by post in the manner and at such time as prescribed
by the Election Commission.

Preventing Impersonation of Voters

333. Provisions shall be made by Rules under this Act to
prevent impersonation of voters at the time of poll, which
may include the following requirements:

(a) For production by every voter before the Presiding
Officer of the polling station any identification card
or document, as prescribed by the Election
Commission, before he/she is allowed to vote; and

(b) To mark with indelible ink the thumb or any other
finger of every voter who comes to the polling
station to vote and before he/she is allowed to vote.

334. The Presiding Officer of the polling station shall prohibit
any voter from casting his/her vote if he/she refuses to
have his/her thumb or any other finger marked with
indelible ink or if he/she has already such a mark on
his/her thumb or any other finger or if he/she does not
produce on demand his/her identification card.

Provision of Polling Stations

335. Every Dzongkhag Electoral Officer shall, with the
approval of the Election Commission provide sufficient
number of polling stations for his/her constituency not less
than 30 days before the date of poll, and publish a list
showing the polling stations and the polling areas.

336. The polling stations must be easily accessible to voters for
polling and its perimeters demarcated by signs posted in
accordance with local geographical conditions.

337. No polling station shall be abolished before the completion
of poll after it has been provided and published under
section 335, except with the prior approval of the Election
Commission.

Employers to allow Employees Leave of Absence to Vote

338. An employer shall, if an employee in any business, trade,
industrial undertaking or any Government establishment
notifies his/her employer before the poll that he/she desires
leave of absence for voting at any election, grant leave of
absence, for reasonable period as is necessary to enable
him/her to vote at the election.

339. The provisions of section 338 shall not apply to any voter
whose absence may cause danger in respect of the
employment in which he/she is engaged.

340. A head of educational or training institute shall, if a
student or trainee who is eligible to vote notifies the
concerned head before the day of poll that he/she desires
leave of absence for voting at any election, grant leave for
reasonable period as is necessary to enable him/her to vote
at the election.

341. No employee, student or trainee shall, without the
bonafide intention to vote, obtain leave of absence under
sections 338 and 340.

342. Any employer or head of educational and training
institutes contravening the provisions of section 338 or
340 and any person contravening the provisions of section
341 shall be guilty of the offence of violation.

Prohibition on Exit Polls

343. No person shall broadcast, telecast or publish before the
close of poll, any:

(a) Statement or news relating to the manner in which
voters have voted at an election;

(b) Public opinion survey reports on an election shall not
be released to the general public prior to closure of
the poll; or

(c) Forecasts or predictions relating to the probable
result of an election based on the information
provided by or obtained from, voters or observers at
an election.

344. Any person contravening the provisions of section 343
shall be guilty of the offence of misdemeanour.

Ballot Papers

345. The Returning Officer shall, subject to any general or
special direction of the Election Commission, be
responsible to print postal ballot papers and ballot papers
required for use at any election in any constituency falling
within his/her jurisdiction.

346. The ballot papers shall be printed on security paper in
Dzongkha and English languages, and in the form as the
Election Commission may direct.

347. The names of contesting candidates on the ballot paper
shall be printed along with their photographs and in the
case of General Elections, with the respective names of
political party and symbols.

348. The names of contesting candidates on the ballot paper
shall be arranged in the same order in which they appear in
the list of contesting candidates prepared by the Returning
Officer under section 232.

Ballot Boxes and Voting Machines

349. Every ballot box or an electronic voting machine to be
used at any election shall be of the design approved by the
Election Commission.

Hours of Poll

350. The poll at any election shall generally be held in a single
day and the hours during which the poll is to be taken be
determined by the Election Commission in accordance
with the local conditions of the constituency in which the
poll is to be taken.

351. The hours of poll determined by the Election Commission
shall be notified and given further publicity as the
Commission may direct.

Commencement of Poll

352. The poll shall commence at each polling station in the
constituency at the hour fixed by the Election Commission
in that behalf.

353. The Presiding Officer of the polling station shall, before
the commencement of poll, demonstrate to the candidates
and their polling representatives that:

(a) The ballot box is empty or no vote is cast in the
voting machine;

(b) All the bundles of ballot papers supplied to him/her
for use at the polling station are intact and no ballot
paper is missing; and

(c) The copy of the Electoral Roll to be used for
identifying voters and allowing them to cast their
votes at the polling station is duly authenticated by
the Returning Officer.

354. The Presiding Officer shall permit the candidates and their
representatives to note down the serial numbers of ballot
papers or the identification number of the voting machine,
provided to him/her for use at the polling station.

355. The Presiding Officer shall seal and secure the ballot box
or the electronic voting machine in the manner directed by
the Election Commission or as laid down in the Rules.

Provided that he/she shall permit the candidates and their
representatives to affix their seals thereon, if they so
desire.

Admission to Polling Stations

356. The Presiding Officer shall direct the number of voters to
be admitted at any one time inside the polling station, and
exclude there-from all persons other than:

(a) Candidates, their election representatives and one
polling representative;

(b) A child in arm accompanying a voter;

(c) A person accompanying a blind or infirm voter who
cannot move without help;

(d) Polling Officers;

(e) Public servants on duty in connection with the
election; and

(f) Persons authorized in writing by the Election
Commission.

Voting Procedure and Maintenance of Secrecy

357. Every voter shall maintain secrecy of voting within the
polling station and for that purpose observe the voting
procedure prescribed by Rules made under this Act.

Assistance to Physically Challenged Voters

358. The Presiding Officer shall permit a physically challenged
voter to take with him/her a companion to the voting
compartment for recording the vote on the ballot paper or
on the voting machine, if he/she is satisfied that owing to
his/her physical infirmity, a voter is unable to recognise
the symbols on the ballot paper or to make a mark thereon
or to record his/her vote in the voting machine, without
assistance.

Provided that no person shall be permitted to act as the
companion of more than one voter at any polling station
for a particular election.

359. Any person before he/she is permitted to act as the
companion shall be required to declare that he/she is not
less than eighteen years of age, he/she will keep the vote
recorded by him/her on behalf of the voter a secret and
he/she has not already acted as the companion of any other
voter at any polling station for a particular election.

360. The Presiding Officer shall keep the record of the voters
and their companion in a form prescribed for this purpose.

Challenging of Identity of Voters

361. Any polling representative may challenge the identity of a
person claiming to be a particular voter when he/she
comes to vote at the polling station.

362. The Presiding Officer shall on such challenge being made:

(a) Warn the person challenged of the penalty for
impersonation;

(b) Read the relevant entry in the Electoral Roll in full
and ask him/her whether he/she is the person referred
to in that entry;

(c) Enter his/her name and address in the list of
challenged votes in a prescribed form; and

(d) Require him/her and the challenger, to affix their
signatures in the said list.

363. The Presiding Officer shall thereafter hold a summary
inquiry into the challenge and may for that purpose:

(a) Require the challenger to adduce evidence in proof
of the challenge and the person challenged to adduce
evidence in proof of his/her identity;

(b) Put to the person challenged any question necessary
for establishing his/her identity and require him/her
to answer them and furnish an affidavit; and

(c) Obtain statements from any other person offering to
give evidence.

364. The Presiding Officer shall, if after an inquiry considers
that the challenge has not been established, allow the
person challenged to vote, and if he/she considers that the
challenge has been established, debar the person so
challenged from voting.

365. The Presiding Officer shall warn the polling representative
concerned if in his/her opinion such representative is
making baseless challenges with a view to harass the
voters or cause obstruction in the conduct of smooth poll.

366. The Presiding Officer shall, if the polling representative
continues to challenge despite warning, direct such a
representative to be removed from the polling station,
without prejudice to the penalty under section 547.

Provisional Votes

367. The Presiding Officer may, if a person claiming to be a
particular voter comes to the polling station after another
person has already voted as such voter, allow him/her to
cast a provisional vote.

Provided he/she produces a valid citizenship identity card
and voter photo identity card.

368. The Presiding Officer shall, before allowing a person to
cast a provisional vote, explain to him/her the provisions
relating to the offence of impersonation at elections and
obtain from him/her a declaration in writing in a
prescribed form.

369. A person who casts a provisional vote shall fold the ballot
paper on which he/she has recorded his/her vote and hand
it to the Presiding Officer who shall, in the presence of the
said person, place it in an envelope along with his/her
declaration, fasten the envelope and place the envelope in
the ballot box, or where the votes are recorded by means
of voting machine, in a bigger envelope provided for the
purpose.

Provided that no such envelope shall be opened by the
Returning Officer at the time of counting of votes without
the prior approval of the Election Commission.

Close of Poll

370. Every Presiding Officer shall close the poll at his/her
polling station at the hour fixed in that behalf by the
Election Commission and shall not thereafter admit any
voter into the polling station.

Provided that all voters present at the polling station at the
time of close of poll shall be allowed to cast their votes.

Sealing of Ballot Boxes or Electronic Voting Machines and
Election Papers after Poll

371. The Presiding Officer shall, after the close of poll, close
the slit of the ballot box or close the electronic voting
machine so as to ensure that no further votes can be cast at
the polling station, and seal and secure the ballot box or
electronic voting machine as prescribed by the Election
Commission.

372. The Presiding Officer shall seal and secure all other
election papers, including unused ballot papers and the
copy of Electoral Roll, used for taking the poll at the
polling station in separate packets as directed by the
Election Commission.

373. The candidates and their representatives present at the
polling station at the close of poll shall be permitted to
affix their seals on the election material referred to in
section 371 and 372, if they so desire.

374. All ballot boxes or electronic voting machine and other
election papers sealed and secured under sections 371, and
372 shall be transmitted by the Presiding Officer to the
custody of such Election Officers as authorized by the
Returning Officer in this behalf for further action relating
to counting of votes and safe preservation and custody of
the said records.

Adjournment or Temporary Suspension of Poll in
Emergencies

375. The Presiding Officer for the polling station shall, if at an
election, the proceedings at any polling station are
interrupted or obstructed by any riot or open violence, or if
at an election it is not possible to take the poll at any
polling station on account of any natural calamity, or any
other sufficient cause, announce an adjournment of the
poll to a later date.

Provided that it shall not be necessary to adjourn the poll
to a later date where the poll can be recommenced within
two hours after temporary suspension in the aforesaid
emergencies.

376. The Presiding Officer shall inform the Returning Officer
concerned on adjournment of poll under section 375.

377. The Returning Officer shall, whenever a poll is adjourned
under section 375:

(a) Immediately report the circumstances to the Election
Commission;

(b) With the prior approval of the Election Commission,
appoint the day on which the poll shall recommence;

(c) Fix the polling station and the hours during which
the poll will be taken; and

(d) Not count the votes cast at the constituency until
such adjourned poll has been completed.

378. The voters who have already voted at the poll so adjourned
shall not be allowed to vote again when an adjourned poll
is recommenced under section 377.

379. The Returning Officer shall, in every case as aforesaid,
notify in the manner directed by the Election Commission,
the date, place and hours fixed for polling.

380. The Returning Officer shall provide the Presiding Officer
of the polling station at which the adjourned poll is held,
with the sealed packet containing the same copy of the
Electoral Roll which was earlier used at that polling
station, and a new ballot box or a new voting machine.

381. The provisions of this Act and of any Rules and orders
made thereunder shall apply in relation to the conduct of
an adjourned poll as they apply in relation to the poll
before it was adjourned.

Fresh Poll in case of Destruction of Ballot Boxes or Voting
Machines

382. The Returning Officer shall report the matter to the
Election Commission, if at any election:

(a) Any ballot box or electronic voting machine used at
a polling station is unlawfully taken out of the
custody of the Presiding Officer or the Returning
Officer, or is accidentally or intentionally destroyed
or lost, or is damaged or tampered with, to an extent,
that the result of the poll at that polling station cannot
be ascertained;

(b) Any electronic voting machine develops a
mechanical failure during the course of the recording
of votes and it could not be replaced within two
hours of developing the failure; or

(c) Any error or irregularity in procedure as is likely to
vitiate the poll is committed at a polling station.

383. The Election Commission shall thereupon, after taking all
relevant circumstances into account, either:

(a) If satisfied that the result of a fresh poll at that
polling station will not, in any way, affect the result
of the election or that the mechanical failure of the
electronic voting machine or the error or irregularity
in procedure is not substantial, issue directions to the
Returning Officer as it may deem proper for the
further conduct and completion of the election; or

(b) Declare the poll at that polling station to be void,
appoint a day, and fix the hours, for taking a fresh
poll at that polling station and notify the day so
appointed and the hours so fixed as it may deem fit.

384. The provisions of this Act and of any Rules or orders made
thereunder shall apply to every fresh poll as they apply to
the original poll.

CHAPTER 18

COUNTING OF VOTES

Counting of Votes

385. Votes at every election shall be counted under the overall
supervision and direction of the Returning Officer.

386. Each contesting candidate, his/her election representative
and his/her counting representatives, and the observers
appointed by the Election Commission, shall have a right
to be present at the time of counting.

387. The Returning Officer shall authorize an Election Officer
to act as Counting Supervisor assisted by a counting staff
as the Returning Officer may appoint in this behalf, where
the counting of votes is done at more than one place.

Provided that where the counting of votes is done at the
polling station itself, the Presiding Officer of the polling
station may be authorized by the Returning Officer to act
as the Counting Supervisor for that place of counting.

Date, Time and Place of Counting

388. The counting of votes shall, subject to any general or
special direction of the Election Commission, commence
at the polling station or any other publicly designated place
at any time after the close of poll.

389. The Returning Officer shall, at least one week before the
day fixed for the poll, designate the place or places where
the counting of votes will be done, fix the date and time at
which the counting commences and give notice of the
same in writing to each political party, contesting
candidate or his/her election representative.

390. The Returning Officer may shift the place of counting to a
safer place or alter the date and time of counting, if it
becomes necessary on account of imminent danger of
violence, terrorism, disorder or similar causes or for any
other sufficient reason, and give notice of the same in
writing well in advance to each contesting candidate or
his/her election representative.

391. All the votes cast by means of postal ballots in a
constituency shall be counted centrally either at the
headquarters of the Returning Officer or at any other place
as designated by him/her.

392. Counting of postal ballot shall commence after the last
date and hour as fixed for the receipt of the postal ballots
and the notice of the place, date and time be given under
section 332 to the candidates or their election
representatives.

Damage or Loss of Ballot Papers before Completion of
Counting

393. The Returning Officer shall, at any time before the
counting of votes is completed if any ballot paper or
electronic voting machine used at a polling station are
unlawfully taken out of the custody of the Counting
Supervisor or Returning Officer or are accidentally or
intentionally destroyed or lost or are damaged or tampered
with to an extent that the result of the poll at that polling
station cannot be ascertained, forthwith report the matter to
the Election Commission.

394. The Election Commission shall thereupon, after taking all
relevant circumstances into account either:

(a) Direct the counting of votes to be stopped, declare
the poll at that polling station to be void, fix the day
and hours, for taking a fresh poll at that polling
station and notify the date so appointed and hours so
fixed as it may deem fit; or

(b) If satisfied that the result of a fresh poll at that
polling station will not, in any way, affect the result
of the election or that the mechanical failure of the
electronic voting machine or the error or irregularity
in procedure is not substantial, issue directions to the
Returning Officer as it may deem proper for the
further conduct and completion of the election.

395. The provisions of this Act and of the Rules and Orders
made thereunder shall apply to every fresh poll as they
apply to the original poll.

Admission to Places of Counting

396. The Counting Supervisor shall exclude from the place
designated for counting of votes, all persons except:

(a) Candidates, their election representatives and one
counting representative;

(b) Observers appointed by the Election Commission;

(c) The counting staff appointed to assist him/her in the
counting;

(d) Public servants on duty in connection with the
election; and

(e) Persons authorized in writing by the Election
Commission.

397. The Counting Supervisor shall, if the counting is done at
more than one counting table, decide which counting
representatives or representative shall watch the counting
at any particular counting table or group of counting
tables.

398. Any person who during counting of votes misconducts
himself/herself or fails to obey the lawful directions of the
Counting Supervisor shall be removed from the place of
counting and not be permitted to re-enter the counting
place without the approval of the Counting Supervisor.

Commencement of Counting of Votes

399. The Counting Supervisor shall commence the counting of
votes at the place, date and hour fixed by the Returning
Officer.

400. The Counting Supervisor may, if at any place, counting is
done of votes cast at more than one polling station, have
the ballot boxes or electronic voting machines used at all
these polling stations opened and the votes cast in the
ballot boxes or electronic voting machines counted
simultaneously.

401. The counting representatives present at that table shall,
before any ballot box or electronic voting machine is
opened at a counting table, be allowed to inspect the seals
as might have been affixed thereon and satisfy themselves
that the ballot box or electronic voting machine is intact.

402. The Counting Supervisor shall satisfy himself/herself that
none of the ballot boxes or electronic voting machines has
in fact been tampered with.

403. The Counting Supervisor shall, on being satisfied that any
ballot box or electronic voting machine used at a polling
station has in fact been tampered with, decline to take up
all the ballot boxes or electronic voting machines used at
that polling station for counting.

404. The Counting Supervisor shall forthwith report the matter
under section 403 to the Returning Officer for appropriate
directions of the Election Commission.

Scrutiny of Ballot Papers

405. The ballot papers taken out of each ballot box shall be
arranged in convenient bundles and scrutinized, where the
votes have been cast at a polling station by means of ballot
papers and ballot boxes.

406. No envelope containing a provisional vote cast shall be
opened and no ballot paper therein taken up for counting,
except with the prior approval of the Election
Commission.

407. The Counting Supervisor shall reject as invalid a ballot
paper, if it:

(a) Is blank;

(b) Is not duly authenticated by the Presiding Officer;

(c) Cannot be definitely determined for which candidate
the vote is cast;

(d) Is not handed out at the polling station;

(e) Is not deposited inside the valid ballot box;

(f) Has been cast for more than one candidate in the
constituency;

(g) Bears a mark of identification different from the one
officially provided;

(h) Has been marked with an instrument not officially
provided at the polling station; or

(i) Has been tampered with or is so damaged or
mutilated that its identity as a genuine ballot paper
cannot be established.

408. The Counting Supervisor shall, before rejecting any ballot
paper as invalid, allow the counting representatives present
a reasonable opportunity to inspect the ballot paper but
without allowing them to handle it or any other ballot
paper.

409. The Counting Supervisor shall, if a counting representative
objects to a ballot paper being invalid, decide by judicious
application of mind whether the ballot paper is invalid or
not.

Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent the
Counting Supervisor from rejecting any ballot paper as
being invalid although it is not objected to by any counting
representative.

410. Every ballot paper which is not rejected as invalid under
this section shall be counted as one valid vote for the
candidate concerned.

411. The Counting Supervisor shall record in a prescribed result
sheet, the total number of ballot papers cast at the polling
station, the number of ballot papers rejected as invalid, the
number of valid votes secured by each of the candidates
and the number of provisional votes cast at the polling
station after the counting of ballot papers contained in all
the ballot boxes used at a polling station has been
completed.

412. The Counting Supervisor shall, announce the result of
counting so recorded by him/her in the said result sheet,
and furnish to every candidate or his/her election
representative or his/her counting representative present a
true copy of the said result sheet duly authenticated by
him/her after recording the result under section 411.

Counting of Votes where Electronic Voting Machines have
been used

413. The Counting Supervisor shall, on being satisfied that the
electronic voting machine has in fact not been tampered
with, have the votes recorded therein counted by using
mechanism as provided in that electronic voting machine
to display the result of counting of votes in that polling
station.

414. The Counting Supervisor shall record in a prescribed result
sheet, the total number of votes cast at the polling station,
the number of votes rejected as invalid, if any, the number
of valid votes secured by each of the candidates and the
number of provisional votes cast at the polling station after
the counting of votes recorded in the electronic voting
machine used at a polling station has been completed.

415. The Counting Supervisor shall announce the result of
counting so recorded by him/her in the said result sheet,
and furnish to every candidate or his/her election
representative or his/her counting representative present a
true copy of the said result sheet duly authenticated by
him/her after recording the result under section 414.

Sealing of Election Related Materials

416. The ballot papers taken out of the ballot boxes and counted
or the electronic voting machine used at the polling station
shall be sealed and secured in the manner directed by the
Election Commission after the counting of votes has been
completed in respect of a polling station.

417. Candidates and their representatives present at the place of
counting shall be permitted to affix their seals thereon, if
they so desire.

418. All the ballot papers and electronic voting machines sealed
and secured under section 416 and 417, along with the
result sheet prepared in respect of the counting of each
polling station, shall then be transmitted by the Counting
Supervisor to the Returning Officer for further action.

Counting of Votes Received by Post

419. No envelope that purports to contain a postal ballot shall
be opened at any time before the last date and hour fixed
for this purpose.

420. The Counting Supervisor shall open each envelope
containing a postal ballot and take out the postal ballot
contained therein for scrutiny on or after the last date and
hour fixed for the receipt of postal ballots.

421. No envelope containing or purporting to contain a postal
ballot which has been received after the aforesaid date and
time for receipt of postal ballots shall be opened or its
contents taken for scrutiny.

422. A postal ballot shall be rejected as invalid if it:

(a) Is not returned by the voter in the official envelope
that may be sent to him/her for this purpose along
with the postal ballot;

(b) Is not accompanied by the declaration as to the
identity of the voter in the prescribed form that may
be sent to the voter for the purpose along with the
postal ballot;

(c) Is blank;

(d) Is not duly authenticated by the Returning Officer as
provided by Rules made under section 332;

(e) Cannot be definitely determined for which candidate
the vote is cast;

(f) Has been cast for more than one candidate in the
constituency;

(g) Bears a mark of identification different from the one
officially provided by Rules made under section 332;
or

(h) Has been tampered with or is so damaged or
mutilated that its identity as a genuine ballot paper
cannot be established.

423. The Counting Supervisor shall, before rejecting any postal
ballot as invalid, allow the counting representatives
present a reasonable opportunity to inspect the postal
ballot but without allowing them to handle it or any other
postal ballot.

424. The Counting Supervisor shall, if a counting representative
objects to a postal ballot being invalid, decide by judicious
application of mind whether the postal ballot is invalid or
not.

Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent the
Counting Supervisor from rejecting any postal ballot as
being invalid although it is not objected to by any counting
representative.

425. Every postal ballot which is not rejected as invalid shall be
counted as one valid vote for the candidate concerned.

426. The Counting Supervisor shall, after the counting of all
postal ballots cast in a constituency has been completed,
record in a prescribed result sheet, the total number of
postal ballots cast in the constituency, the number of postal
ballots rejected as invalid and the number of valid votes
secured by each of the candidates.

427. The Counting Supervisor shall, after recording the result
under section 426, announce the result recorded by
him/her and furnish to every candidate or his/her election
or counting representative present, a true copy of the said
result sheet duly authenticated by him/her.

428. The postal ballots shall, after the completion of counting,
be sealed and secured in the manner directed by the
Election Commission.

Provided that candidates and their representatives present
at the place of counting shall be permitted to affix their
seals thereon, if they so desire.

429. All the postal ballots sealed and secured under section 428,
along with the result sheet prepared in respect of the
counting of the postal ballots, shall then be transmitted by
the Counting Supervisor to the Returning Officer for
further action as to the consolidation of the result of
counting in the constituency and declaration of result.

Consolidation of Result of Counting by Returning Officer

430. The Returning Officer shall record the result of the
counting in a Final Result Sheet in the prescribed form
after the result sheet in respect of counting of votes of a
polling station or postal ballots is received by him/her.

431. The Returning Officer shall consolidate and record in the
Final Result Sheet, the total number of ballot papers
including postal ballots cast in the constituency, the total
number of ballot papers rejected as invalid, the total
number of votes secured by each of the contesting
candidates and the total number of provisional votes cast
in the constituency.

432. The Returning Officer shall, after recording the result
under section 431, announce the result of the counting so
recorded by him/her in the Final Result Sheet to the
candidates and their representatives present.

Recounting of Votes

433. A political party, a candidate or, in his/her absence, his/her
election or counting representatives may, within 24 hours
of the announcement of the result by the Returning Officer
under the provisions of section 432, apply in writing to the
Returning Officer to recount the votes either wholly or in
part stating the grounds on which he/she demands the
recount.

434. A reasonable opportunity to exercise the right to demand
recount shall, for the purpose of section 433, be given to a
candidate and his/her representative present at the
counting.

435. The Returning Officer shall, on any such application being
made, decide the matter and may allow the application in
whole or in part or may reject it in whole or in part if it
appears to him/her to be baseless or unreasonable.

436. Every decision of the Returning Officer under section 435
shall be in writing and contain the reasons thereof.

437. The Returning Officer on deciding to allow a recount of
the votes either wholly or in part, shall:

(a) Direct the recount in accordance with sections 399 to
432;

(b) Amend the Final Result Sheet to the extent necessary
after the recount; and

(c) Announce the amendments made by him/her after
the recount.

438. The Returning Officer shall, after the total number of votes
cast for each contesting candidate has been announced
under section 427, 432 or 437, complete and sign the Final
Result Sheet.

439. The Election Commission may at any time before the
declaration of result of election direct the recount of votes
in whole or in part for the reasons to be recorded, and fix
the date, time and place of such recount under the
supervision of the Returning Officer or such other officer
as designated by the Commission after giving due notice to
the contesting candidates or their election representatives.

440. All the provisions of this Act and of the Rules and Orders
made thereunder shall apply to recount directed under
section 435 as they apply in relation to the original
counting.

CHAPTER 19

DECLARATION OF RESULTS OF ELECTIONS

Transmission of Results of Elections

441. The Returning Officer shall, after consolidating and
recording the result of election in the constituency in the
Final Result Sheet and its announcement under the
provisions of section 427, 432 or 437, transmit a duly
authenticated copy of the said Final Result Sheet to the
Election Commission.

Declaration and Publication of Results of Elections in
Parliamentary Constituencies

442. The Election Commission shall, on receipt of the Final
Result Sheets from the Returning Officers of all National
Assembly constituencies under section 441, in the case of
the Primary Round:

(a) Calculate, record and consolidate in the prescribed
form, the total number of votes cast in all National
Assembly constituencies throughout Bhutan, the total
number of ballot papers rejected as invalid, and the
total number of valid votes secured by each
registered political party; and

(b) Declare and announce, in a prescribed form, the
names of the two registered political parties which
have secured the highest and the next highest number
of valid votes cast in the Primary Round of election
throughout Bhutan, for the purposes of General
Election.

443. The Election Commission shall, on receipt of the Final
Result Sheets from the Returning Officers of all National
Assembly constituencies, in the case of General Election
to the National Assembly, declare in a prescribed form, the
candidates who have secured the highest number of valid
votes in their respective Parliamentary constituencies as
having been duly elected from those constituencies to the
National Assembly.

444. The Election Commission shall, on receipt of the Final
Result Sheets from the Returning Officers of all National
Council constituencies, declare in a prescribed form, the
candidates who have secured the highest number of valid
votes in their respective constituencies as having been duly
elected from those constituencies to the National Council.

445. The Election Commission shall, after the declaration of
results of elections under sections 442, 443 and 444,
publish these results by notification and give further
publicity, as it may deem appropriate.

446. The Royal Bhutan Police shall, in consultation with
Election Commission, designate specific places where the
supporters of each political party will be authorised to
assemble at the time of declaration of results.

Constitution of the National Assembly

447. The Election Commission shall, after the results for the
General Elections in all Parliamentary constituencies have
been declared and published, notify the names of the
candidates declared elected from each Parliamentary
constituency together with the names of registered political
parties which had respectively nominated them.

448. The National Assembly shall, on the issue of notification
under section 447, be deemed to have been duly
constituted.

449. The Election Commission shall present a duly
authenticated copy of the notification under section 447
before the Druk Gyalpo, Who shall then summon the first
sitting of Parliament and command the party winning the
majority of seats in the National Assembly to form the
Government.

450. Nothing contained in section 445 or 447 shall preclude the
Election Commission from issuing the notification, if the
election in any Parliamentary constituency has not been
completed for any reason before the date fixed for the
completion of that election and where the date for the
completion of that election has been extended.

Constitution of the National Council

451. The Election Commission shall, after the declaration of
results of elections from all constituencies to the National
Council, declare by notification the names of the winning
candidates from each of the constituencies concerned.

452. The National Council concerned shall, on the issue of
notification under section 451, be deemed to have been
duly constituted.

Provided that the issue of such notification shall not affect
the duration of the National Council concerned
functioning, if any, immediately before the issue of the
said notification.

453. The Election Commission shall present a duly
authenticated copy of the notification under section 451
before the Druk Gyalpo.

454. Nothing contained in section 451 shall preclude the
Election Commission from issuing the notification, if the
election in any constituency has not been completed for
any reason before the date fixed for the completion of that
election and where the date for the completion of that
election has been extended.

455. The Returning Officer shall, on completion of the counting
and preparation of the Final Result Sheet under the
provisions of section 427, 432 or 437, and in the absence
of any direction of the Election Commission to the
contrary, declare in a prescribed form, the candidate who
has secured the highest number of valid votes in the
constituency as having been duly elected from the
constituency to the National Council concerned.

456. The Returning Officer shall, on declaring the result of
election in the constituency in the prescribed form,
transmit a duly authenticated copy of the said declaration
form to the Election Commission.

Constitution of Local Governments

457. The Election Commission shall, after the declaration of
results of elections from all constituencies of a Local
Government, declare by notification the names of the
winning candidates from each of the constituencies
concerned.

458. The Local Government concerned shall, on the issue of
notification under section 457, be deemed to have been
duly constituted.

Provided that the issue of such notification shall not affect
the duration of the Local Government concerned
functioning, if any, immediately before the issue of the
said notification.

459. The Election Commission shall present a duly
authenticated copy of the notification under section 457
before the Druk Gyalpo.

460. Nothing contained in section 457 shall preclude the
Election Commission from issuing the notification, if the
election in any constituency has not been completed for
any reason before the date fixed for the completion of that
election and where the date for the completion of that
election has been extended.

461. The Returning Officer shall, on completion of the counting
and preparation of the Final Result Sheet under the
provisions of section 427, 432 or 437, and in the absence
of any direction of the Election Commission to the
contrary, declare in a prescribed form, the candidate who
has secured the highest number of valid votes in the
constituency as having been duly elected from the
constituency to the Local Government concerned.

462. The Returning Officer shall, on declaring the result of
election in the constituency in the prescribed form,
transmit a duly authenticated copy of the said declaration
form to the Election Commission.

Equality of Votes

463. The Election Commission shall, if the highest or second
highest numbers of votes are secured by two or more
candidates or parties in equal numbers on the completion
of counting of votes, order for re-election between
candidates or parties securing equal number of votes.

464. The Returning Officer shall, if at the re-election conducted
under section 463 the highest numbers of votes are secured
by two or more candidates or parties in equal numbers on
the completion of counting of votes, forthwith decide
between those parties or candidates by draw of lots in the
presence of parties, candidates or their representatives.

Grant of Certificate of Election to Elected Candidate

465. The candidate shall, after he/she has been declared elected
by the Election Commission under section 443, 444 or 445
or the Returning Officer under section 455, be granted a
certificate of election in a prescribed form by the authority
which has declared him/her elected.

CHAPTER 20

ELECTION DISPUTES AND ELECTION PETITIONS

Election Petitions

466. No election to the National Assembly or National Council
or a Local Government shall be called in question,
notwithstanding anything contained in any other law,
except by an election petition presented in accordance with
the provisions of this Act.

The Election Commission shall during the election period,
for the purposes of having an efficient, effective, fair and
transparent system for the adjudication of election related
offences and settlement of disputes, have in place an
Election Dispute Settlement System established in
accordance with the Rules and Regulations made under
this Act.

Authorities to try Election Petitions

467. The authority to try an election petition relating to an
election to the National Assembly or National Council
shall be the High Court of Bhutan.

468. The authority to try an election petition relating to an
election to a Local Government shall be the Dzongkhag
Court of the Dzongkhag concerned.

Presentation of Election Petitions

469. An election petition calling in question any election shall
be presented to the Court prescribed under section 467 or
468 within ten days from the date of declaration of result
in the constituency.

Provided that no election petition shall be filed before the
result of election in the constituency has been declared.

470. An election petition may be presented by any candidate at
the impugned election or any voter in the constituency
concerned whether the voter has voted at that election or
not.

471. An election petition may call in question the election on
any one or more of the grounds prescribed in sections 476
and 477.

472. Every election petition shall be accompanied by as many
copies thereof as there are respondents mentioned in the
petition with one more copy for the Election Commission.

473. Every copy of the election petition shall be attested by the
petitioner under his/her own signature to be a true copy of
the petition.

Parties to the Election Petition

474. A petitioner shall join as respondents to his/her petition:

(a) The elected candidate;

(b) All other contesting candidates, if the petitioner
claims that not only the election of the elected
candidate is void but that he/she himself/herself or
any other candidate has been duly elected; and

(c) Any other candidate against whom allegations of any
corrupt practice are made in the petition.

475. No petitioner shall join the Election Commission or the
Returning Officer as respondents to the petition provided
that the Court trying the election petition may direct the
Commission or the Returning Officer to be joined as
respondent or respondents in an election petition where the
Court is of the view that the joining of the respondent or
respondents is necessary for proper adjudication of any
issue raised in the petition.

Grounds on which an Election Petition may be presented

476. An election petition may be presented on the grounds that:

(a) The elected candidate was not qualified, or was
disqualified to be elected at the impugned election on
the date of scrutiny of nominations or on the date of
election;

(b) Any electoral offence has been committed by the
elected candidate or his/her election representative or
by any other person with the consent of the elected
candidate or his/her election representative;

(c) The nomination of the elected candidate has been
improperly accepted;

(d) The nomination of any other candidate has been
improperly rejected; or

(e) The result of election of the elected candidate cannot
be ascertained.

477. An election petition may be presented under 476 (e), if it
has been affected by:

(a) The improper acceptance of the nomination of any
candidate;

(b) The improper reception, refusal or rejection of any
valid vote or the receipt of any vote which is void;

(c) Any corrupt practice committed in the interest of the
elected candidate by any person or representative; or

(d) Any non-compliance with the provisions of the
Constitution or of this Act or of any Rules or Orders
made thereunder.

Relief that may be claimed in the Election Petition

478. A petitioner shall claim in the election petition that the
election of the elected candidate is void and may, in
addition to claiming that declaration, claim a further
declaration that he/she himself/herself or any other
candidate has been duly elected at the impugned election.

Contents of Election Petition

479. An election petition shall:

(a) Contain a concise statement of the facts on which the
petitioner relies;

(b) Set forth full particulars of any corrupt practice that
the petitioner alleges and state the names of the
parties alleged to have committed corrupt practice
and the date and place of the commission of such
practice; and

(c) Be signed by the petitioner and verified in the
manner laid down in the Civil and Criminal
Procedure Code of Bhutan.

480. Any schedule or annexure to the petition shall be signed
by the petitioner and verified in the same manner as the
petition.

Trial of Election Petitions

481. The Court trying an election petition shall dismiss an
election petition which does not comply with the
provisions of section 469, 470, 476, 477 or 479.

482. A judge shall, where more than one election petition is
presented to the concerned Court in respect of the same
election, try all such election petitions together in the
manner he/she deems appropriate.

483. The trial of an election petition shall, as far as practicable
and consistent with the interests of justice be conducted as
expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to
conclude the trial within one month from the date on
which the election petition is presented to the Court
concerned.

484. Every election petition shall, subject to the provisions of
this Act and of any Rules and Orders made thereunder, be
tried as nearly as may be, in accordance with the procedure
applicable under the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of
Bhutan for the trial of civil suits.

485. No document shall, notwithstanding anything contained in
any law to the contrary, be inadmissible in evidence at the
trial of an election petition merely on the ground that it is
not duly stamped or registered.

Examination of Witness

486. No witness or any other person shall be required to state at
the trial of an election petition for whom he/she has voted
at the election.

Provided the witness may volunteer to state for whom
he/she has voted.

487. The reasonable expenses incurred by any person in
attending to give evidence at the trial of an election
petition may be allowed to be paid to such person by the
party on whose behalf he/she has tendered evidence.

Recrimination when Seat Claimed

488. The elected candidate or any other party may, when an
election petition declaring that any candidate other than
the elected candidate has been duly elected is claimed,
give evidence to prove that the election of any other
candidate would have been void if he/she had been the
elected candidate and a petition had been presented calling
in question his/her election.

Provided that the elected candidate or any other party, as
aforesaid, shall not be entitled to give evidence unless
he/she has, within ten days from the date of
commencement of the trial, given notice to the Trial Court
of his/her intention.

489. Every notice referred to in section 488 shall be
accompanied by a statement and particulars required under
section 479 in the case of an election petition and be
signed and verified in the prescribed manner.

Decision of the Trial Court

490. The Trial Court shall, at the conclusion of the trial of an
election petition, make an order:

(a) Dismissing the election petition;

(b) Declaring the election of the elected candidate to be
void;

(c) Declaring the election of the elected candidate to be
void and the petitioner or any other candidate to have
been duly elected; or

(d) Holding the person liable for election offences.

491. Costs of litigation and costs for causing delay shall be
determined in accordance with the provisions of the Civil
and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan.

Communication of Orders of the Trial Court

492. The Trial Court shall send an authenticated copy of the
decision to the Election Commission and the Speaker or
Chairperson of the concerned House of Parliament or a
Local Government after the conclusion of the trial of an
election petition.

Issue of Notification

493. The Election Commission, on the receipt of any order
made by the Trial Court under section 492 shall issue a
notification.

Effect of Orders of the Trial Court

494. Every order shall, subject to the provisions relating to the
suspension of operation of an order of the Trial Court, take
effect on its pronouncement.

495. All acts and proceedings in which an elected candidate has
participated as a Member of Parliament or a Local
Government before his/her election is declared void, shall
not be invalidated by reason of that order, nor he/she be
subjected to any liability or penalty on the ground of such
participation.

Withdrawal of Election Petition

496. An election petition may be withdrawn only by leave of
the Trial Court.

497. No application to withdraw an election petition shall be
made, if there are more petitioners than one, except with
the consent of all the petitioners.

498. A notice thereof fixing a date for the hearing of the
application shall be given to all other parties to the
petition, where an application for withdrawal is made.

499. No application for withdrawal shall be granted if, in the
opinion of the trial authority, the application has been
induced by any bargain or consideration which ought not
to be allowed.

500. The Trial Court shall, if the application for withdrawal is
granted, order the petitioner to pay the costs of the
respondents theretofore incurred or such portion thereof as
it may think fit and direct that notice of withdrawal to be
issued.

501. A person who might himself/herself have been a petitioner
may, within ten days of notification, apply to be
substituted as petitioner in place of the party withdrawing,
and upon compliance with the conditions, if any, shall be
entitled to be substituted and to continue the proceedings
upon terms as the Trial Court may determine.

Report of Withdrawal by the Trial Court

502. The Trial Court shall, when an application for withdrawal
is granted and no person has been substituted as petitioner,
report the fact to the Election Commission which shall
issue a notification.

503. The notice referred to in section 502 shall be accompanied
by a statement and particulars required under section 479
in the case of an election petition and be signed and
verified in the prescribed manner.

Abatement of Election Petitions

504. An election petition shall abate only on the death of a sole
petitioner or of the survivors of several petitioners.

505. The Trial Court shall issue notification, as it may deem fit,
where an election petition abates under section 504.

506. A person who might himself/herself have been a petitioner
may, within ten days of notification issued under section
505, apply to be substituted as petitioner, and upon
compliance with the conditions, if any, shall be entitled to
be substituted and to continue the proceedings upon terms
as the Trial Court may determine.

507. The Trial Court shall report the fact to the Election
Commission for further action under section 502, where no
person has been substituted as petitioner.

Substitution on Abatement

508. The Trial Court shall, where the sole respondent or any of
the respondents on appeal gives notice that there is no
other respondent who is opposing the petition before the
conclusion of the trial of an election petition, issue a notice
and thereupon any person who might himself/herself have
been a respondent may within ten days of the notification,
apply to be substituted in place of the respondent upon
terms as that Court may determine.

509. The Trial Court shall, where the sole respondent or any of
the respondents on appeal dies and there is no other
respondent who is opposing the petition before the
conclusion of the trial of an election petition, issue a notice
and thereupon any person who might himself/herself have
been a respondent may within ten days of the notification,
apply to be substituted in place of the deceased upon terms
as that Court may determine.

510. The Trial Court shall report the fact to the Election
Commission for further action under section 502, where no
person has been substituted as respondent.

Election Appeals

511. An appeal may, notwithstanding anything contained in any
other law for the time being in force, lie from every order
made by a Trial Court to:

(a) The Supreme Court of Bhutan, in case the election
petition is related to an election to the National
Assembly or National Council; or

(b) The High Court of Bhutan, in case the election
petition is related to an election to a Local
Government.

512. Every appeal under section 511 shall be preferred within a
period of ten days from the date of the order of the Trial
Court.

Provided that the appellate Court may entertain an appeal
after the expiry of the said period of ten days if it is
satisfied that the appellant had sufficient cause for not
preferring the appeal within the period.

Suspend the Operation of Order of Trial Court

513. The Trial Court or the appellate Court may, on sufficient
reasons being shown, suspend the operation of the order.

Provided no application for stay shall be made to the Trial
Authority after an appeal has been preferred to the
Appellate Authority.

514. The order suspended by the Trial Court or the appellate
Court shall be deemed never to have taken effect and a
copy of the suspension order be immediately sent by the
Trial Court or the appellate Court, to the Election
Commission and the Speaker or the Chairperson of the
concerned House of Parliament or Local Governments.

Procedure in Appeal

515. Every appeal shall be heard and determined by the
appellate Court as in accordance with the provisions of the
Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan.

516. The appellate Court shall, on the pronouncement of a
decision, send an authenticated copy of the decision to the
Election Commission and the Speaker or the Chairperson
of the concerned House of Parliament or Local
Government.

517. The Election Commission shall, on the receipt of an order
made by the appellate Court, submit a copy thereof to the
Druk Gyalpo, and simultaneously issue a notification.

CHAPTER 21

ELECTORAL OFFENCES

Corrupt Practices

518. A person shall be guilty of offences of corrupt practices, if
he/she:

(a) Offers any gift or promises any gratification, with the
object of inducing a person to stand or not to stand,
or to withdraw or not to withdraw from being a
candidate, or to vote or refrain from voting at an
election; or

(b) Receives or agrees to receive, any gratification for
himself/herself, or on behalf of any other person, for
having voted or refrained from voting, or for
standing or not standing, or for withdrawing or not
withdrawing from being a candidate.

Provided a declaration of public policy or a promise of
public action shall not be deemed to be bribery within the
meaning of this section.

519. A person shall be guilty of offences of undue influence, if
he/she interferes directly or indirectly or attempt to
interfere on the part of any person, with the free exercise
of any electoral right.

Provided a declaration of public policy, or a promise of
public action, or the mere exercise of a legal right without
intent to interfere with an electoral right, shall not be
deemed to be interference within the meaning of this
section.

520. A person shall be guilty of offence of threatening, if he/she
threatens any candidate or any voter, or any person in
whom a candidate or a voter is interested, with injury of
any kind including social ostracism or expulsion from any
community.

521. A person shall be guilty of offence of abetting disharmony,
if he/she appeals to any other or group of persons to vote
or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of
his/her religion, community or language or other status.

522. A person shall be guilty of offence of using unauthorized
symbols, if he/she uses religious symbols or national
symbols, such as the national flag or the national emblem,
or the Royal seal of the Druk Gyalpo or the Royal
Government or any symbol proscribed by any order of the
Commission for the furtherance of the prospects of the
election of a candidate or for prejudicially affecting the
election of any candidate.

Provided that no election symbol reserved under this Act
for a registered political party or candidate shall be
deemed to be a religious symbol or a national symbol for
the purposes of this section.

523. A person shall be guilty of offence of giving a false
statement, if he/she publishes any statement which is false,
and which he/she either believes to be false or does not
believe to be true, in relation to the personal character or
conduct of any candidate, or in relation to the candidature,
or withdrawal, of any candidate, being a statement
reasonably calculated to prejudice the prospects of that
candidate’s election.

524. A person shall be guilty of unauthorized expenditure, if
he/she incurs or authorizes expenditure in excess of the
prescribed limit.

525. A person shall be guilty of unfair means, if he/she obtains
or uses any patronage of the Druk Gyalpo or any
assistance from any person in the service of government
for the furtherance of the prospects of any candidate’s
election.

526. A person shall be guilty of “Booth capturing”, if he/she:

(a) Seizes a polling station, making election officers
surrender the ballot papers or voting machines;

(b) Takes possession of a polling station and allows only
his/her own supporters to exercise their right to vote
and prevent others from exercising their right to vote;

(c) Coerces or intimidates or threatens directly or
indirectly any voter and prevents him/her from going
to the polling station to cast his/her vote; or

(d) Seizes a place for counting of votes by any person or
persons, making the counting supervisors surrender
the ballot papers or voting machines.

527. Any person committing an electoral offence under section
518 to 526 shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the
fourth degree.

Offences relating to Election Advertising

528. A person shall be guilty of misdemeanour, if he/she:

(a) Tampers, removes, destroys, obliterates or defaces,
any poster or banner displayed in accordance with
the established Rules and Regulations;

(b) Displays or causes to be displayed any poster or
banner not in accordance with the established Rules
and Regulations;

(c) Obstructs the Returning Officer, or any member of
his/her staff or any police officer on duty, in carrying
out their duties; or

(d) Obstructs any candidate or his/her election
representatives or any person lawfully conducting
any election activity from doing any act which he/she
is legally authorised to do.

Offences relating to Postal Ballot

529. A person who attempts to induce any other person to
obtain a Postal Ballot Paper with the intention of
influencing him/her by bribery or intimidation to record
his/her vote in favour of particular party or candidate shall
be guilty of the offence of misdemeanour.

530. Any person who makes or induces any other person to
make a false statement in an application for a Postal Ballot
Paper shall be guilty of the offence of misdemeanour.

531. Any person who fails to deliver or post forthwith an
envelope containing or purporting to contain a Postal
Ballot Paper entrusted to him/her by a voter for the
purpose of delivering or posting it to the Returning Officer
shall be guilty of the offence of misdemeanour.

Misuse of Election Fund

532. A political party or candidate shall not use funds received
under the Public Election Fund or contributions received
from its members for any other purpose, except for
promoting its own electoral prospects as may be
prescribed by law.

533. A candidate or a political party contravening section 532
shall be liable for action under section 179 and the
political party under section 146.

Prohibition of Third Party Campaign

534. A Third Party shall be prohibited from funding any
election campaign or conducting a campaign in favour of
or against a candidate or a political party.

535. A person or organisation contravening section 534 shall be
guilty of misdemeanour.

Prohibition of Public Meetings

536. No person shall convene, hold or attend, join or address
any public meeting in connection with an election, in any
polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending
with the hour fixed for the commencement of the poll for
any election in the polling area.

537. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 536
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

Disturbances at Election Meetings

538. Any person who acts, or incites others to act in a
disorderly manner for disturbing or preventing the
transaction of the business of an election meeting shall be
liable to be arrested forthwith and be guilty of the offence
of felony of the fourth degree.

Maintenance of Secrecy of Voting

539. Every Election Officer, representative or other person,
who performs any duty in connection with the recording or
counting of votes at an election, and every voter at the
time of voting within the polling station, shall maintain
secrecy of voting except for purposes authorized under any
law.

540. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 539
shall be guilty of the offence of petty misdemeanour.

Offences relating to Voter Photo Identity Card

541. A person shall be guilty of the offence of petty
misdemeanour, if found:

(a) In possession of more than one Voter Photo Identity
Card;

(b) Obtaining Voter Photo Identity Card based on false
statement;

(c) Tampering or attempting to tamper with a Voter
Photo Identity Card;

(d) Selling or attempting to sell any Voter Photo Identity
Card;

(e) Buying or attempting to buy any Voter Photo
Identity Card; or

(f) Refusing to submit Voter Photo Identity Card after
its cancellation.

Government Servants not to Act for Candidates or to
Influence Voting

542. No person in the service of the Government shall in the
conduct or management of an election do any act other
than the giving of vote for the furtherance of the prospects
of the election of a candidate.

543. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 542
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

Prohibition of Canvassing in or near Polling Station

544. A person shall not, within the polling station or in any
public or private place within a distance of one hundred
metres of the polling station, on the date of poll:

(a) Canvass for votes;

(b) Solicit the vote of any voter;

(c) Persuade any voter not to vote for any particular
candidate;

(d) Persuade any voter not to vote at the election; or

(e) Exhibit any notice or sign other than an official
notice relating to the election.

545. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 544
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

Fraudulent Removal or Tampering

546. No person shall:

(a) Tamper with or steal, or, without due authority or
fraudulently, replace, deface or destroy any official
electoral documents;

(b) Without due authority or fraudulently, open or break
the seal of a ballot box or a electronic voting
machine in use for taking the poll, or the lock or seal
of a storage centre;

(c) Disobey a lawful direction given by the Presiding
Officer or the Counting Supervisor in relation to the
maintenance of law and order and security inside and
around the polling station or counting place or any
other matter effecting the conduct of polling or
counting at the election;

(d) Without due authority or fraudulently, take or
attempt to take a ballot paper or any other official
electoral document out of a polling station or a
counting place;

(e) Without due authority or fraudulently, issue or
supply a ballot paper to any person or receive any
ballot paper from any person or be in possession of
any ballot paper;

(f) Without due authority or fraudulently, put into any
ballot box or electronic voting machine anything
other than the ballot paper which he/she is authorized
by law to put in for the purposes of the election; or

(g) Attempt any of the foregoing acts or wilfully aid or
abet any of such acts.

547. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 546
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

548. The Presiding Officer or the Counting Supervisor may, if
he/she has reason to believe that a person is committing an
offence under section 546 (d) or (e), direct security
personnel to arrest the person and have him/her searched
before allowing the person to leave the polling station or
the counting place.

Provided that when it is necessary to search a woman,
another woman shall make the search.

549. Any ballot paper or other election related document found
upon the person arrested on search shall be made over for
safe custody to security personnel.

Prohibition of Going Armed to or near a Polling Station or
Counting Place

550. No person, other than a security personnel entrusted with
the duty of maintaining peace and order during the period
of elections shall go armed.

551. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 550
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth degree
and the arms found in his/her possession is liable to
confiscation and the licence granted in relation to the arms
is deemed to have been revoked.

Breaches of Official Duty in connection with Election

552. A person entrusted with any duty in connection with the
preparation or revision of Electoral Rolls or conduct of any
election under this Act shall, if he/she is without
reasonable cause guilty of any act or omission in breach of
his/her official duty, be guilty of the offence of felony of
the fourth degree.

553. No suit or other legal proceedings shall lie against any
person for damages in respect of any act or omission as
aforesaid.

Prohibition on Sale or Distribution

554. No intoxicating liquors or other substances of like nature
shall be sold, given or distributed within a polling area
during the entire polling period.

555. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 554
shall be guilty of the offence of misdemeanour and the
intoxicating liquors found in his/her possession are liable
to confiscation.

Impersonation at Elections

556. A person who applies for a ballot paper or seeks
permission to cast vote in a fictitious name, or in the name
of any other person whether living or dead or who having
voted once at such election again applies for a ballot paper
or seeks permission to cast a vote in his/her own name and
whoever abets, procures or attempts to procure the voting
by any such person shall be guilty of the offence of
impersonation.

557. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 556
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

Illegal Payments in connection with an Election

558. A person who incurs or authorizes expenses for promoting
the electoral prospects of a political party or a candidate
without the general or special authority in writing of that
political party or candidate shall be guilty of the offence of
misdemeanour.

Failure to keep Election Accounts

559. A person who is required under this Act or any other law
for the time being in force to keep accounts of monies
received and expenses incurred or authorized at or in
connection with an election fails to keep the accounts shall
be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth degree.

Making False Statement

560. A person shall be guilty of making a false statement if
he/she makes a statement or declaration in writing which is
false and which he/she either knows or believes to be false
or does not believe to be true, in connection with:

(a) The preparation, revision or correction of an
Electoral Roll;

(b) The inclusion or exclusion of any entry in or from an
Electoral Roll; or

(c) Any matter relating to the conduct of election.

561. Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 560
shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

562. A person who attests an application or affidavit which
he/she knows that he/she is not authorized to do so or
knows that it contains a statement or declaration which is
false shall be guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth
degree.

Failure to Furnish the Information required by Law

563. A person who is required under this Act or any other law
for the time being in force to furnish any information or
make any declaration or disclosure fails to do so shall be
guilty of the offence of felony of the fourth degree.

Offences under the Penal Code of Bhutan

564. Any act or omission which is an offence under the Penal
Code of Bhutan shall be deemed to be an offence under
this Act if committed in relation to any activity connected
with the preparation or revision of an Electoral Roll or
conduct of an election and be punishable with the same
penalty as prescribed under the Penal Code of Bhutan.

Provided the Election Commission may, notwithstanding
the provisions related to any specific penalties in this Act
and based on the gravity of the offence, resort to
appropriate administrative measures including:

(a) Warning;

(b) Forfeiture;

(c) Fine;

(d) Public Reprimand;

(e) Restraining Order;

(f) Cancellation of Candidature;

(g) Nullification of Election Results; and

(h) Deregistration of a Political Party

CHAPTER 22

THE NATIONAL REFERENDUM

565. A National Referendum shall be held, if:

(a) His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo so commands in
accordance with the provisions of the Constitution;
or

(b) Requested in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution.

566. A Referendum shall not be held on the question of
imposition, variation, repeal of taxes or any other grounds
as may be prescribed by law made by Parliament.

Initiation for a National Referendum

567. A National Referendum can be initiated by:

(a) His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo;

(b) If an appeal on an issue of national significance is
made by not less than 50% of the total number of
members of all Dzongkhag Tshogdues; or

(c) Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution.

Submission for a Referendum

568. The request for a National Referendum shall be submitted
to the Election Commission.

Form of Referendum

569. The request for a National Referendum to the Election
Commission shall indicate:

(a) The title of the matter on which the Referendum is
being sought; and

(b) The provisions of the law that confers the right to
request a Referendum.

Prohibition of Withdrawal

570. A request for a National Referendum once made shall not
be withdrawn.

Eligibility to Vote

571. Provisions with regard to the qualifications of voters shall
apply to National Referendum as they apply to elections
under this Act.

Duty of the Election Commission

572. The Election Commission shall, on the receipt of a request
for a National Referendum, conduct the Referendum in
accordance with law.

Period for holding a National Referendum

573. The Election Commission shall hold a National
Referendum within a period of ninety days from the date
of the receipt of the request for the Referendum.

Successful Referendum

574. The matter referred for National Referendum shall be
implemented immediately on being approved in the
National Referendum by a simple majority of the total
number of valid votes cast in all the Dzongkhags in the
Kingdom.

CHAPTER 23

MISCELLANEOUS

Uncontested Election

575. A poll at any election to Parliament or a Local
Government shall be taken in the constituency concerned
even if there is only one contesting candidate or political
party.

576. The candidate shall, for the purposes of section 575, be
declared elected only if he/she secures in his/her favour a
majority of the total valid votes cast at the election.

Bye-Election

577. The Election Commission shall, when the seat of a
member elected to any House of Parliament or Local
Government becomes vacant on death or resignation or
his/her election to the House is declared void, issue a
notification calling upon the constituency concerned to
elect a person for filling the vacancy.

578. The provisions of this Act and of the Rules and Orders
made thereunder shall apply, as far as may be, in relation
to bye-election as they apply to original elections.

579. A bye-election for filling any vacancy to Parliament shall
be held within a period of ninety days and to Local
Governments shall be held within a period of thirty days,
from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy.

Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply
if:

(a) The remainder of the term of the member from the
date of occurrence of the vacancy is less than one
hundred and eighty days; or

(b) The Election Commission, in consultation with the
Government, certifies that it is difficult to hold the
bye-election within the said period.

580. A member elected to fill a casual vacancy shall only serve
for the remainder of his/her predecessor's term of office.

Inherent Powers

581. The Supreme Court shall have the power to award
reasonable penalty where a particular offence is not
covered or is only partially covered by this or any bylaw
made under this Act, and is not otherwise excluded from
adjudication.

Amendment

582. The amendment of this Act by way of addition, variation
or repeal shall be effected only by a simple majority of the
respective Houses or a vote of no less than two-third of the
total members of Parliament present and voting on a
motion submitted by one-third of the members of either
House, provided that the amendment does not undermine
the functions and effectiveness of the Election
Commission.

583. Parliament shall have the moral responsibility to ensure
that an amendment does not undermine the authority and
effectiveness of the Election Commission in the conduct of
free and fair elections.

Authoritative Text

584. The Dzongkha text shall be the authoritative text, if there
exists any difference in meaning between the Dzongkha
and the English text.

ANNEXURE

INTERPRETATION

Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Age” means number of years of a person from the day of
his/her birth to the time of filing his/her nomination,
calculated based on his/her Date of Birth as recorded in the
Civil Registry;

(b) “Arms” include firearm, ammunition, explosive or any
other lethal weapons;

(c) “Candidate” means a person who has been or claims to
have been duly nominated as a candidate at an election;

(d) “Casual Vacancy” means the vacancy created in
Parliament or Local Governments when its member dies or
resigns;

(e) “Chiwog” means the territorial constituency provided
under section 16 for election to the Gewog Tshogde;

(f) “Compensatory Allowance” means any sum of money
payable to the holder of an office by way of daily
allowance, or travelling allowance or for recouping any
expenditure incurred by him/her in performing the
functions of that office not exceeding amount to which a
Member of Parliament is entitled by law;

(g) “Constituency” includes a Parliamentary constituency,
National Council constituency, Gewog, Chiwog and
territorial constituency for Thromde Tshogde;

(h) “Contribution” includes contribution made in cash, kind,
hospitality, accommodation, transport and other such
facilities;

(i) “Constitution” means the Constitution of the Kingdom of
Bhutan;

(j) “Delimitation Commission” means the Delimitation
Commission of Bhutan established under section 77;

(k) “Deliberative vote” means a vote cast by each member on
an issue;

(l) “Dependents” means spouse, parents, or minor children
inclusive of adopted children whose livelihood is dependent
on his/her earnings;

(m) “Dzongkhag” means a district;

(n) “Dzongkhag Tshogdu” means the District Council;

(o) “Election” means election to fill seat or seats in either
House of Parliament or in any Local Government;

(p) “Election Commission” means the Election Commission
of Bhutan established under the Constitution;

(q) “Election Officer” means the Chief Election
Commissioner, Election Commissioners and any officer or
staff of its Secretariat, and any other officer or staff
employed or deployed in connection with the preparation
and revision of Electoral Rolls or the conduct of any
election, and includes any security personnel performing
any duty in connection with the conduct of an election
under this Act;

(r) “Electronic Media” includes television, radio and any
other broadcasting media notified by the Government;

(s) “Election Symbol” means a pictorial design or sign,
reserved for a political party, or a candidate by the
Election Commission, which represents or identifies a
political party or a candidate in the form of a party logo,
flag or posters;

(t) “Formal University Degree” means a degree not lower
than a Bachelor’s Degree conferred on a person after
having pursued a formal course of study at a university or
an institution of higher learning recognized by the Royal
Government of Bhutan and attested by a competent
authority in the Kingdom;

(u) “Functionally literate” means capable of reading and
writing in Dzongkha;

(v) “Gewog” means the territorial constituency provided
under section 15 for election of Gup and Mangmi;

(w) “Gewog Tshogde” means a County Committee;

(x) “Government” means the Royal Government of Bhutan;

(y) “Gratification” is not restricted to pecuniary gratifications
or gratifications estimable in money and includes all forms
of entertainment;

(z) “Gung” means a household registered in accordance with
the Bhutan Civil Registration System;

(aa) “Independent” means the same as defined in the
Constitution and with reference to section 41 of this Act.

(bb) “Independent candidates” means candidates other than
those nominated by political parties;

(cc) “Local Government” includes Dzongkhag Tshogdu,
Gewog Tshogde and Thromde Tshogde;

(dd) “National Council Constituency” means a Dzongkhag
referred to in section 10;

(ee) “Non-statutory Body” means any body of persons other
than a statutory body;

(ff) “Parliamentary constituency” means constituency
provided under section 6 for election to the National
Assembly and section 10 for election to the National
Council;

(gg) “Parliamentary election” includes Primary election;

(hh) “Political Party” means a party of individual citizens of
Bhutan registered as political party with the Election
Commission under section 140;

(ii) “Prescribed” means prescribed by Rules made under this
Act;

(jj) “Notification” means official notice issued by the Election
Commission of Bhutan;

(kk) “Section” means a section of this Act;

(ll) “Statutory Body” means any corporation, committee,
commission, council, board or other body of persons
incorporated or established under any law for the time
being in force;

(mm) “Third Party” means any person or organization, which are
not themselves candidates or political parties in an election
conducted under this Act;

(nn) “Dzongkhag Thromde” means a Municipality;

(oo) “Thromde Tshogde” means a Municipal Committee;

(pp) “Electronic Voting machine” means a machine or
apparatus operated electronically for giving and recording
of votes in place of a ballot box and a ballot paper in any
election under this Act or Rules made thereunder; and

(qq) Words importing the singular number shall include the
plural number and vice-versa, unless the context otherwise
requires.

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