NA elects speaker, deputy from rul­ing party

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The Na­tional Assem­bly (NA) met at 10-am on 31 Oc­to­ber for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker elec­tions in the par­lia­ment house. The first sit­ting only came to an end af­ter swear­ing-in cer­e­mony ad­min­is­tered by the Chief Jus­tice Tsh­er­ing Wangchuk as per Third Sched­ule of the Con­sti­tu­tion of The King­dom of Bhutan on Oath or Af­fir­ma­tion of Of­fice.

While for the speaker, rul­ing party nom­i­nated Wangchuk Nam­gyel from Ny­isho-Se­phu con­stituency and he faced op­po­si­tion can­di­date Ugyen Wangdi from Dram­et­se_ Ngat­shang. Wangchuck Nam­gyel swears oath as a speaker af­ter he was elected to the post with 30 votes. Ugyen Wangdi, mean­while, re­ceived 17 of the to­tal 47 votes that were cast.

Tshen­cho Wangdi from Kabji-Talo in rul­ing party was up against op­po­si­tion party's nom­i­nee Karma Wangchuk from Chu­mig-Ura, who re- ceived 16 votes. Tshen­cho Wangdi se­cured 31 votes and be­came the new deputy speaker of the house.

On the other hand, the house com­pletely voted along party lines. There should have the sup­port from both rul­ing and op­po­si­tion benches. The rul­ing party has the back­ing of 30 MPs while op­po­si­tion has the strength of 17 mem­bers in the lower house of the par­lia­ment.

The speak­ers were elected mem­ber of the NA for first time and be­fore com­ing into the house, they were picked by the party to con­test elec­tions on the seat of Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The speak­ers should es­tab­lish neu­tral­ity while run­ning the pro­ceed­ings of the house.

Ugyen Wangdi, 46, the se­nior par­lia­men­tar­ian in the NA was part of lower house of the par­lia­ment over 10 years while Wangchuk Nam­gyel, 56, has worked in the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry for 27 years. Tshen­cho Wangdi, 33, is a for­mer teacher and travel con­sul­tant while Karma Wangchuk, 48, worked as a drungt­sho since 1998.

Ear­lier at the press con­fer­ence in Thim­phu, Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa's (DNT) spokesper­son and mem­ber-elect, Dr Tandi Dorji, said to set ex­am­ples, DNT was con­sid­er­ing whether to give Dy. Speaker post to the Op­po­si­tion. He said, “This is the very good start that the op­po­si­tion sub­mits their can­di­dates.”

Dr Tandi Dorji said the rul­ing party's ges­ture to­wards the op­po­si­tion is to bring unity and har­mony, and avoid di­vi­sive pol­i­tics. “We are hop­ing that we could work very im­pla­ca­bly with them,” he said, “We would like to make the process most sim­ple and more con­ve­nient, con­ducive and less di­vi­sive.”

The rul­ing party dur­ing its ini­tial meet­ing with the NA sec­re­tariat asked to file the can­di­dates from the op­po­si­tion for the slots. Ac­cord­ing to the pro­ce­dure, Dr Tandi Dorji, said the op­po­si­tion also should file the can­di­date. He said, “Un­like in the past, we dis­cussed with the NA Sec­re­tariat and re­quested to ask whether op­po­si­tion leader would file their can­di­dates.”

Nor­mally, nom­i­na­tion of the can­di­date takes place in the par­lia­ment. Dr Tandi Dorji said, “Since the op­po­si­tion has sub­mit­ted the list, we also sub­mit­ted our can­di­dates to the NA Sec­re­tariat.”

The nom­i­na­tion must be sec­onded by an­other mem­ber and ac­com­pa­nied by a nom­i­nee state­ment that he or she is will­ing to serve as the Speaker. Al­though the win­ning party nor­mally nom­i­nates a can­di­date, any mem­ber may sub­mit a nom­i­na­tion of a mem­ber for the post of the Speaker.

Dr Tandi Dorji said his team is grate­ful to be form­ing the gov­ern­ment. He said, “We are also very happy to know that we are go­ing to be work­ing with an ex­pe­ri­enced op­po­si­tion.”

The Op­po­si­tion party has been part of lower house of the par­lia­ment over 10 years as a rul­ing party in the first ten­ure and rep­re­sented op­po­si­tion in the sec­ond term.

The first sit­ting of the Na­tional Assem­bly also be­gan with the of­fer­ing of Ku-Sung-Thugten into the house as a sym­bolic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of His Majesty the King.

Shortly af­ter the sec­re­tary gen­eral read out the Kasho from His Majesty the King, the par­lia­ment mem­bers clad their new blue ‘Namza' and put on pathang/gyen­tag in the house.

The mem­bers took the nec­es­sary Oath of Af­fir­ma­tion of the Of­fice be­fore the Chief Jus­tice as per the Sched­ule of The Con­sti­tu­tion of the King­dom of Bhutan.

A day prior to the elec­tions of speaker, the mem­bers-elect of the third Na­tional Assem­bly pre­sented their cer­tifi­cates of elec­tion is­sued by Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Na­tional Assem­bly. The sec­re­tary gen­eral also briefed the MP se­lect on the first sit­ting and in­formed about the pro­ce­dures.

The Mem­bers of the Par­lia­ment of the third Na­tional Assem­bly for­mally took of­fice and elected the speaker and the deputy speaker on 31 Oc­to­ber in the Par­lia­ment house in Thim­phu.

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