Sonam Deki/ Thimphu With the poll day slated on June 29, 2021, the Election Commission of Bhutan invokes the provision of the electoral laws to stop the campaign in the forty-eight hours preceding the hour fixed for commencement of poll, it also discourages exit poll. This is for the two constituencies of Nganglam and Monggar that will hold the bye-elections. The two constituencies are asked to stop the bye-election campaigns in Nganglam and Monggar Demkhongs starts from 8:00 am of June 27, 2021 till the closure of the polls on June 29, 2021. The Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan (2008), Section 305 states, ‘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’. ECB clearly states that ‘during this period no one is allowed to publish, broadcast, or transmit any material that is in the nature of election campaign, supporting or opposing any candidate in any media platform. However, the authorized campaign materials posted during the campaign period may be retained as it is if they are not within 100 meters of a polling station’. ECB further states that ‘no one shall arrange, organize, conduct, undertake, introduce, issue, release or finalize any public activity, event or decision that has potential to sway voters in favour of or against a candidate or be exploited for electoral gains. Any individual or candidate resorting to any such unlawful acts shall be dealt with as per the laws’. On exit polls, the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan (2008), Section 343 prohibits exit polls that specifically states that ‘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. A Press Release of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa thanks the people of the two constituencies in Nganglam and Monggar. It states ‘as we officially wind up the campaign for the bye-elections in Monggar and Nganglam constituencies early tomorrow, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) would like to thank the people of the two constituencies and everyone else for being a part of the important process’. It further added, ‘we would like to thank the contesting party and the candidates for engaging in clean and harmonious campaign’. Similarly, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa had also released a Press Release thanking the people of two constituencies of Nganglam and Monggar Demkhongs. The Press Release states, ‘Druk Phuensum Tshogpa has always placed its confidence, trust, and hope in the collective wisdom of our people. We are convinced to the core that the wisdom of our people will never err in our national endeavours. As you cast your secret vote in this by-election, we know that you will make the decision that will contribute toward serving the Tsa-Wa-Sum with honesty, integrity and vision’. Meanwhile, the Election Commission seeks the understanding, support and full cooperation of the general public for ensuring compliance with the order. The notice is aimed at fulfilling the noble intention of providing conducive time and space for proper reflection and exercise of franchise by the electorate so as to achieve the aspiration of the nation to elect the most worthy National Assembly members to the Monggar and Nganglam Demkhongs.
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