Sunday, June 9, 2013

Law On Withdrawal of Candidates

How often does it happen that the victor falls and the fallen triumphs? Not very often I am sure and, even if it does, it provably happens only in Bhutan.

The Bhutanese media - print and visual, including the social media - are full of reports about the supposed ongoing tug-of-war between the DPT and the PDP in their respective efforts to rope in some select members of the fallen party - the DNT - to replace some of their existing candidates.

In my view, the issue concerning the replacement of candidates, while permitted under the Election laws, has implications that go far beyond the moral and the ethical - it impinges on the very intent behind our Constitutional provision that dictates the form of our parliamentary democracy. This subject is too complex and thus requires a separate discussion. For now, I want to talk of something that has been completely ignored by the Bhutanese people and the media. It is an issue that, I believe, must be addressed first - before contemplating replacement of candidates.

What is to become of the candidates who are being replaced?

I do not see any discussion on this issue. In fact, scant regard is given to what they might have to say on the matter. The parties have to be reminded that these are the valiant soldiers who fought the war and won the battle for them.

Some of these candidates have given up jobs; some have forfeited opportunities and most have depleted their life’s savings - for the cause of a dream and the promise of a better future. These candidates have crossed high mountains and walked through deep valleys and gushing rivers - to canvass and campaign for their parties. They have worked hard to put the parties where they are today - at the very threshold of victory and honour.

Nothing can be more agonizing than to find that they have been victorious and yet, they are being denied their just reward. If these candidates are to suffer the humiliation and indignity of being ignominiously sidelined - to make way for candidates from other parties who have played no role in the party’s success, the parties better have damn good reasons to justify their immoral behavior. Or, they have to compensate the candidates whom they chose to cast away - in preference to others.

Surely the parties are aware that there is no authority under the sun that can force any candidate to accept replacement or withdrawal from the party. The following rule in the Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 is clear on the issue:

Withdrawal of Candidature

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.

This means that the only way to make a candidate accept his/her withdrawal for replacement with another one is - if the party makes it worth his/her while! 

It will be illegal to force a candidate to withdraw against his/her wishes! And, it should be illegal for parties to clandestinely get their candidates to sign the withdrawal papers - without making known their rights under this rule.

How to decide what the amount of compensation should be? Not a problem - a benchmark has already been set: Nu.6.3 million. If you remember, a certain Dr. Lotey Tshering paid that sum to enter politics. There is no reason why it should be any lower - to get out of it.


  1. the is issue is not something that needs to be washed in public..It is a internal party matter which i think can be addressed closed door.

  2. In short, this blog is a DPT mouth piece. May DPT win and grant you a PRADO as well....:)

    Let me remind you that those candidates who stands to be replaced have no hope of a win in their respective constituencies(looking at their primary result). So it doesnot make sense for them to waste another couple of months looking like a FOOL. That too at the cost of the party's defeat

  3. Certainly, this blogger is a strong DPT supporter. So, read between the lines with caution.

  4. I love your photography. With due respect, When did you start becoming part of DPT Media propaganda? The Last few post you wrote sucked big time. You better take your camera and drive to mountains- that's where you belong and where you earn our respect.

  5. Hey,
    Did DPT ever think of the its former candidates when they are replaced by new one?. Did you write anything about them?. You are selfish blogger without any moral and ethics behind your work and usually the artist seems to be more outspoken for what is truth and what is false. But, you are the true typical bhutanese hypocritical blogger without any substance and your business will be doomed if you continue to rely on the corrupted government.

  6. Viewed from outside, this switching around of candidates is a farce. What price political parties in Bhutan now? Will anyone ever believe again the promises of one or another party candidate, knowing that the person mouthing them could belong to another party tomorrow? I understand that your country is new to the democratic/political business but by Jove, your politicians have learned really quickly. This is 'politics' in the worse possible sense of the word.
    I was saddened that no news media reported your primaries but now I'm glad, it would have been embarassing.
    Yeshey, as usual your voice is the voice or reason.

  7. "The ECB points out that the highest party leadership joining another party a week after the primary round raises questions on ethics and morality, although it cannot be objected to legally. It says such questioning could lead to a loss of public faith in the political process."
    The ECB, and I.
    From Bhutan Times, June 12