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The members fold their blue kabneys and remove their patags at the NA hall yesterday
The members fold their blue kabneys and remove their patags at the NA hall yesterday

Curtains fall on National Assembly

Marking the successful completion of a decade of democracy, the second National Assembly dissolved yesterday afternoon with an offering of Tashi Moenlam and Zhabten in the National Assembly hall.

The members folded their blue kabneys, removed their patags and most of them wore the white kabneys.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay wore the lungmarand works and human settlement Dorji Choden, her red scarf.

Former ministers – Yeshey Zimba, Khandu Wangchuk and Wangdi Norbu – who served as ministers both before and after the transition to democracy in 2008, wore the orange scarf. Former health minister Zanglay Dukpa wore the red scarf.

The members of the cabinet will hold office until the formation of an interim government. However, except for the prime minister and the works and human settlement minister, all the ministers will attend office in their white kabneys.

The Constitution prescribes that an interim government must be formed within 15 days from the dissolution of the National Assembly.

At a recent press conference, the prime minister said that the members of the cabinet would surrender their duty vehicles on the formation of the interim government. According to the Constitution, Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk will head the interim government as the Chief Advisor.

In his last remarks as the Speaker, Jigme Zangpo hailed the second National Assembly as successful. The House was constituted on August 2, 2013.

“We served for the last five years in the best of our ability keeping in the country’s interest. The tenure of the National Assembly ends today,” he said at the ceremony.

The former parliamentarians congratulated each other by exchanging handshakes and hugs at the end of the ceremony that last for about 25 minutes.

National Council Chairperson Tashi Dorji and council members, government secretaries and the members of the media were present in the hall to attend the ceremony.

According to the National Assembly secretariat, such a ceremony to mark the end of the tenure was organised for the first time. The secretariat said that the practice of surrendering the kabney by parliamentarians would be institutionalised for future Parliaments to follow.

The second National Assembly, which extended up to the 11th session, passed 23 bills. The Local Government Members’ Entitlement Act of Bhutan 2015, which ensured retirement benefits and other entitlements for elected local leaders, is considered one of the significant legislations passed by the second Parliament.

Parliament also ratified 11 international conventions although 14 were introduced. The second national assembly also ratified the renewal of the trade, commerce and transit agreement between Bhutan and India in 2016.

However, it did not ratify two conventions – the European Investment Bank Agreement and the transport agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN).

During the last five years, a total of 235 days of Parliament sittings, including 62 days of joint sitting, were held.

The Parliament received a total of 11 motions, 483 questions and 174 local government petitions. While most of them were deliberated in Parliament, some of them were referred to relevant agencies.

MB Subba 

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