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Bhutan elections to be held for 47 seats

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Political parties in Bhutan can now nominate their candidates and plan strategies after the Delimitation Commission divided the country's 20 districts into 47 constituencies for the first general elections next year.

According to Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kuenzang Wangdi, the allocation of the National Assembly seats and determination of the constituencies boundaries were based on provisions of the Election Bill and the Delimitation Rules and Regulations, voter population, actual district boundaries and their geography.

"Care was taken to ensure that gewogs (administrative blocks) were not fragmented between different constituencies and due recognition was given to the present level of socio- economic development and common interests of communities," Wangdi was quoted as saying by state-run Kuensel newspaper.

Trashigang district has the highest number of constituencies, with five seats in the National Assembly, followed by Samtse with four and Mongar and Pema Gatshel with three seats each.

The remaining 16 districts will have two seats each. Election officials estimate an average of 10,000 eligible voters from each constituency.

Meanwhile, candidates have hailed the announcement, saying it has come at the right time. "It is timely if not late," said a politician.

"On the basis of the constituencies, political parties will also be formed," said another.