Bhutan set for mock elections on April 21 | world | Hindustan Times
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Bhutan set for mock elections on April 21

world Updated: Apr 20, 2007 14:48 IST

Bhutan will take the first major step in its transition to democracy when mock elections are conducted in all the 47 National Assembly constituencies and 869 polling stations with an estimated 1,000 voters identified in each polling booth.

"We are all set for the mock elections featuring four dummy parties with high school students as candidates," Bhutan's Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi told PTI from Thimphu.

"The polls are being held in accordance with the provisions of bills, rules and regulations, and guidelines," he said, adding electoral processes like campaigning, nominations and scrutiny of candidates would, however, not be required.

"We are conducting the mock elections to test run our election machinery and procedures as well as to give hands-on training in poll conduct to our election personnel. The polls will also educate voters in using the electronic voting machines and other processes," he said.

He said returning officers have set up their offices in the constituencies. Polling officers have already begun reporting to their areas and security personnel and observers have reported at their respective units. Security personnel and poll teams have already reported to their respective coordinators in the districts, he said.

The landlocked nation's transition from absolute monarchy began in 2001 when former King Jigme Singye Wangchuk handed over the powers of daily governance to a council of ministers.

In December last year, he abdicated the throne in favour of his son Jigme Khesar. The first general elections will be held next year.