1,042 chiwogs for LG elections
1/1/2011 12:00:00 AM
Bhutan’s 4,000 or more villages are clubbed into 1,042 chiwogs within the 205 gewogs for the local government elections in the draft delimitation plan released on Thursday by the delimitation commission of Bhutan.
According to the plan, which will be discussed with the public during public hearings, 188 gewogs in 12 dzongkhags have five chiwogs each, while the remaining 17 have six each.
The number of chiwogs in a gewog will determine the tshogpa candidate for the local government elections. Which means there will be 1,577 tshogpas, including the 25 thromde tshogpas.
The number of chiwogs (group of village) in each gewog and the determination of the electoral boundaries were drafted, considering registered voter population size, geographical area, existing means of communication and traditional grouping of villages, specified in the election and demkhong rules.
Election officials said that voter registration is ongoing and the delimitation plan was framed based on the total voters as of January 1, 2008; and the eligible voter population as per the civil registry. as on December 13, 2010.
There are around 338,200 eligible voters in the civil registry.
Election commissioner Deki Pema said that the allocation of number of chiwogs has to be within the overarching constitutional provision of a minimum of seven and maximum of 10 members in a gewog tshogde. “Which, in consideration of a gup and a mangmi in each gewog, means that the minimum number of chiwogs in a gewog has to be five and the maximum eight,” she said.
Boundaries of the chiwogs were drawn according to geographical landmark and physical features such as rivers, streams and roads. This method was followed, so that chiwogs could be easily identified, and there was no room for misinterpretation or manipulation.
The 17 gewogs were allocated six chiwogs because the geography was prohibitive, means of communication was limited and the villages were far apart from each other, making it difficult for a tshogpa to cover adequately.
Deki Pema also said that the commission was conscious for the need to keep provision for the future growth of demkhongs, effectiveness of representative in gewog tshogdes.
Commission officials said that comments and feedback for the draft delimitation plan were invited, either through email or public hearing. Public hearing of the draft delimitation plan will be held from January 10 to 20 next year in two stages. One would be a special gewog yargye tshogchung (GYT) meeting in each gewog, and the other would be a special session at dungkhag or dzongkhag levels that would be held in every dzongkhag. The inputs from the public hearings would be incorporated to finalise the delimitation of the boundaries of the final delimitation order for the chiwogs of the 205 gewogs.
Meanwhile, the chief election commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said that it was a important historic day and a big move towards completion of establishment of good governance under the constitution.
“We’re hopeful that, with this beginning, we’d have a new system of governance at the local level soon, ” he said.