Bhutan’s former PM resigns seat in Parliament, causes stir

THIMPU [BHUTAN] Within days of  the new government taking over, Bhutan’s  former prime minister and president of the  Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’ party,  Jigmi Y Thinley resigned his seat on the National Assembly, causing quite a stir in the Dragon Kingdom . Thinley is the leader of the Opposition.

Jigmi Y Thinley had put in his resignation on July 31 through the National Assembly secretary, since at the time the Speaker of the House hadn’t been elected.  The first ever resignation of an elected member of the national Assembly has turned out to be a headache for the newly elected Speaker Jigme Zangpo, who now must take a decision.

Jigmi Y Thinley, former Prime Minister is a highly respected leader

Jigmi Y Thinley, former Prime Minister is a highly respected leader

Jigmi Y Thinley  didn’t specify the reasons for his resignation. He  wants  to avoid nitpicking and subsequent germination of speculations from certain sections of the public, says Bhutanese media.

The letter is subject to acceptance by the speaker,  elected on August 2 during the first sitting of the second Parliament.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo said he would look at the resignation letter on Monday, the day he formally took office and carefully study the reasons for the member’s application for resignation.

“While I’ll be guided by law, there are many concerns,” he said. “What if the law is not so clear, what happens then?”

Bhutan’s National Assembly Act lays down four reasons –resignation, death, disqualification or removal, or expiration of term of office – for an elected member’s seat to be considered vacant.

A member’s seat would also be declared vacant if he or she remains absent for more than one-fourth of the number of days in the session without the assembly’s permission.

One of the concerns on his mind, Jigme Zangpo said was the precedent such actions today would set.

“We’ll have to see because if a candidate wins but the party it represents loses and if he or she wishes to resign and we allow it, what precedent will that set?” he said. “It makes me think of the 2008 case when there were only two member opposition, what if they wanted to resign.”

The resignation, should it be accepted, would mean that the office of a member is vacant much before the expiration of its five-year term, under which circumstance a writ for an election, National Assembly Act stipulates, to fill the vacancy would be issued within a month of its occurrence.

The same rules and laws prescribed in the election Act would apply in the case of bye-election, as it would apply to the real elections.

The election of a member to fill the vacancy, election Act states would be held within 90 days from the date of the vacancy’s occurrence.

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Posted by on August 6, 2013. Filed under Bhutan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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