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Curtains fall on the first council

Closing ceremony: The last session of the country’s first National Council ended yesterday with members expressing gratitude to His Majesty, people in the dzongkhags and different institutions they associated with during their term.

Wrapping up the business, council’s chairperson Namgye Penjore took a quick run down on the journey the House of review took over the years.

In the 10 sessions they sat for, council had deliberated on 39 bills, reviewed another 39 policy related and 33 miscellaneous issues, following which recommendations were submitted to agencies concerned for appropriate actions.

Besides that, the house had also rectified 19 bilateral and multilateral agreements and international declarations.

The chairperson said as a mechanism to review government policies and progress, a “question hour” session was successfully introduced. Over the years, about 27 verbal question- answer session and 10 written ones were held with Cabinet ministers and representatives from government agencies.

Namgye Penjore also said while the house pursued its mandate as a non-partisan and apolitical institution, they also came across certain setbacks.

“Some thought of the council to be playing the opposition’s role at times,” he said. “We also met with resistance from Cabinet ministers who refused to participate in question and answer sessions.”

However, the chairperson said the misunderstandings were cleared with support from the Prime minister, assembly speaker and the ministers, resulting in better coordination.

“We were able to bring up a written guideline for question-answer session, which will prove helpful here after in terms of laying procedure for coordination,” he said.

He also welcomed the aspiring national council candidates and the three new political parties for coming forward to serve the nation by offering more choice to people.

At the same time, he urged the incumbent council members wishing to re-contest to do so in accordance with law and principles.

The session ended with recitation of prayer for His Majesty’s long life and offering of khadhar to the throne.

Meanwhile, the council members will sit for the joint session along with National Assembly members starting today.

By Samten Yeshi

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