The house also elected its Speaker and Deputy Speaker during the first sitting yesterday
The first sitting of the National Assembly (NA) house was held yesterday, officially embarking the five year tenure of its members.
Election of the NA Speaker and Deputy Speaker through secret ballot was the highlight of the meet.
People Democratic Party’s Mongar constituency representative Jigme Zangpo and Punakha (Lingmukha- Toedwang) constituency representative Chimi Dorji were elected as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
Jigme Zangpo secured a total of 40 ‘yes’ votes of the total 46 votes cast to be elected as the Speaker. Chimi Dorji secured 37 ‘Yes’ votes and was elected as the Deputy Speaker.
As per the Constitution of Bhutan, the first sitting after general elections requires the election of a Speaker from the winning party and a Deputy Speaker from either the Ruling or Opposition parties.
However, the Opposition DPT did not file in any nominations for the Deputy Speaker’s post. The reason stated was that none of the elected DPT candidates were interested in contesting for the post.
Speaker elect Jigme Zangpo said his first responsibility would be the adoption of the agenda for the first session, table the pending bills and submit it to relevant committees of the house.
“The Speaker should speak less and follow the rules of procedure,” said the Speaker elect. He added that he will ensure that the NA sessions are conducted in the most fruitful and peaceful manner possible.
Among scores of functions, the important task of the Speaker is to preside over the NA and enforce its rules for the orderly conduct of the proceedings, preserve dignity and decorum in the Assembly Hall, and further maintain discipline amongst the members.
The Deputy Speaker presiding over the sitting during the period of the Speaker’s absence shall be entitled to the same power and privileges of the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties of the Speaker.
Chief Justice Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye and Tshugla Lopen of the Central Monastic Body ushered Ku Sung Thukten to the NA Hall as a symbolic representation of His Majesty the King. The Ku Sung Thukten was then placed on the Golden Throne.
Members of the National Assembly then took oath or affirmation of the office, as per the third schedule of the Constitution of Kingdom of Bhutan.
As per the fourth schedule of the Constitution of Kingdom of Bhutan, the Prime Minister, Speaker, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Speaker took Oath of Secrecy.
The elected NA members who were present at the ceremony adorned in their own Kabneys (scarves) of different colors like, white, red and saffron were reminded by the NA Secretariat that except for the Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet, all others are required to wear the blue Kabney.
After a break, the other NA members adorned their blue scarves and patangs.
One member, Opposition Druk Phunsum Tshogpa’s (DPT) Nanong-Shumar candidate Jigmi Y Thinley was absent at the first sitting, and hence absent for the oath or affirmation of the office.