The National Assembly (NA) session on Tuesday discussed the proposal to designate Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley as a life-time ambassador of Gross National Happiness (GNH).
The NA Speaker, Tshogpon Jigme Tshultim had earlier suggested the proposal to the house.
Opposition MPs expressed their reservations on the proposal and also said that the house has no authority to designate an individual for such titles.
Opposition Leader (OL) Tshering Tobgay said that the house did not agree-on such a proposal nor was there a discussion on it. He said such an action would be a breach of the constitution.
He quoted a section of the constitution which states that only the king has the sole prerogative to award titles and decorations.
“PM as GNH ambassador was Speaker’s idea to be discussed in 10th session. So shocked to hear that NC was told that NA had approved it,” OL tweeted on his Twitter page.
The OL told the house that NA will actually deviate from the formal procedure as per constitution if the information he got is true, but it is good if members can deliberate on the topic in the upcoming session.
Gasa Opposition MP Damcho Dorji questioned the house if it had the authority to award such positions.
The deputy speaker Yangku Tshering in defense of the Speaker said there will be intensive discussions in the next parliamentary session. “Tshogpon has only shared his opinion and nothing is concrete as of now,” he said.
Economic affairs minister Khandu Wangchuk suggested that the members discuss and get opinions from people in their constituencies before deliberating the topic in the 10th parliamentary session.
He said it is a noble initiative and should be supported by everyone.
A letter from the speaker proposing the same was also read-out during National Council’s last session.
The Deputy Chairperson of NC Dr Sonam Kinga said it is His Majesty’s prerogative and not parliament’s to confer such honors. “The present proposal is about a title, an honor that only His Majesty would bestow at his discretion,” he said.
The proposal to designate Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley as the ‘GNH ambassador for-life’ will be discussed in the 10th parliamentary session this winter.