Independent Evaluation Committee to be formed to help ECB evaluate manifestos and campaign pledges

According to the revised rules on election conduct, candidates or political parties shall not make unrealistic pledges or manifestos. And to ensure this, an Independent Evaluation Committee will be formed for the first time. According to the Election Commission of Bhutan, the committee shall comprise members from various relevant agencies and will advise and assist the Commission in evaluating the manifestos and campaign pledges of political parties and candidates.

All political parties and aspiring candidates will be thoroughly scrutinized and evaluated by an Independent Evaluation Committee or IEC. This, the Election Commission says, is in accordance with the Rules on Elections Conduct in the Kingdom of Bhutan, which they announced in September last year.

The ECB says they have already finished some groundwork such as identifying the agencies from where the members will be chosen from.

“We haven’t identified the person as such but we have identified the relevant agencies, from there we will be inviting the experts and vetting the manifestos of political parties and candidates and see whether that is within the parameters of the country,” said Phub Dorji, the ECB’s Director of Secretariat.

He added that the practicality of manifestos and pledges will be assessed to avoid flooding of unrealistic pledges among the public.

“For some things, which are…for example, in foreign policy and foreign relationships, if outside Bhutan’s foreign relationship framework, we will ask the party or the candidate to redefine, that way the pledges they have will be more realistic,” said Phub Dorji.

The Commission has yet to decide on the number of members for the committee. The ECB did not share other details such as when the committee would be formed and how long it would function citing confidentiality

The Rules on Elections Conduct states that political parties shall not release or publicize their manifestos without obtaining prior written approval from the commission.

Devika Pradhan

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen

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