Monday, June 4, 2007
Colour ban in Bhutan polls
SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE
Bhutan mock polls. (File picture)
Jaigaon, June 4: The Election Commission of Bhutan has banned the use of the four primary colours — red, blue, yellow and green — in the country’s first general elections scheduled for 2008.
“None of the registered parties that will take part in the polls will be allowed to use these colours in their election symbols, party flags and banners,” said Kunzang Wangdi, the chief election commissioner of Bhutan. “The four colours have been used by mock political parties in the electoral trial run held recently. The Druk Red Party and the Druk Yellow Party contested in the final phase of mock polling on May 28. Both hues have affected the voters, especially those in the rural areas. Through this directive we wish to do away with any unfair advantage.”
The yellow party, which fought the elections on the agenda of protecting tradition and culture, beat the red party 46-1 in the second phase. The latter was espousing industry-based development.
Wangdi explained that there was apparently a misconception among the electorate regarding the yellow colour, which represents the monarchy, and red, which represents the lamaseries. “The yellow party drew most of the votes as the people believed that it was their duty to vote for the king’s colour,” the chief election commissioner said.
The two parties that have been formed and are awaiting registration — Bhutan People United Party and the People’s Democratic Party — are in a fix as both had used the yellow colour in their symbols.
“I am yet to see the symbols. We will look into these matters when the registration of parties begins in the first week of July,” Wangdi said.
Lam Kesang, the general secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, said they had included yellow in the background of their party symbol and now, after the ban, they would have to do a rethink.
“The most important thing is to adhere to the rules governing the elections,” said Singey Dorji, the spokesman for the Bhutan People United Party.