2023 National Council Elections to be the costliest NC elections to date

With a proposed budget of around Nu 260 M, the fourth National Council or NC elections will be the most expensive NC election to date. This is despite the Election Commission of Bhutan or the ECB taking various cost-cutting measures. The state already spent around Nu 13.3 M in campaign funds for the candidates.

The National Council elections in 2018 were run at a cost of over Nu 245 M, almost Nu 15 M cheaper than the upcoming election. The 2013 election was conducted with around Nu 148 M while the one in 2008 was done at around Nu 99 M.

Despite various cost-cutting measures such as the reduction of polling stations and polling officers, the current election’s proposed budget will mean it will be the costliest National Council elections ever.

The ECB is doing away with 55 polling stations this time around. There will be 811 polling stations now. The number of polling officials will also be reduced by over 200 individuals leaving more than 3,200 officials to be deputed in polling stations.

Moreover, the current election will have 36 fewer candidates compared to the 2018 NC elections. Similarly, the ECB doing away with the postal ballot facilitation booths is also expected to save costs.

The ECB said the rise in the budget could be due to inflation and the revision of the Daily Subsistence Allowance or DSA which will be paid to the officials involved in the election process.

The ECB also says the cost-cutting measures have been thoroughly studied so that they won’t compromise the quality of elections.

Meanwhile, in addition to the polling officials, the ECB will depute over 2,400 security personnel. 89 candidates will contest in the upcoming election, which will be held on the 20th of April.

Kinzang Lhadon 

Edited by Kipchu

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