A new deputy NC chairperson, councilor Tshering Dorji was unanimously elected by all 25 members
In an election conducted by the election commission yesterday morning, National Council members elected the former Deputy Chair and Trashigang council representative, Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga as its Chairperson and Haa council member Tshering Dorji as the Deputy Chairperson. The Chairperson was elected over two other veterans, Pemagatshel council member Jigme Rinzin and Gasa council member Sangay Khandu all of whom presented their credentials to their colleagues the day before.
Both the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson were elected through secret ballot.
Of the total 25 votes cast, Dasho Sonam Kinga won 15 while councilor Sangay Khandu secured eight votes. Jigme Rinzin got two votes.
“I feel deeply honoured to be entrusted with the great responsibility of serving our country and people under the leadership of His Majesty the King. My aspirations are modest but firm. Building upon the experience of last five years I wish to strengthen the positive attributes of NC as a check and balance institution and address its weaknesses. Above all I feel deeply confident of fulfilling the NC’s mandate due to the presence of a strong team, a mix of diverse experiences, and the inspiration that I draw from His Majesty the King,” the Chairperson elect said.
“I wish to thank the people of Bhutan for their prayers, support and encouragement to shoulder this important responsibility as NC Chairperson,” he added.
Councilor Tshering Dorji was the uncontested candidate for the post of Deputy Chairperson. With 25 ‘yes’ votes in his favor, he has been unanimously elected to the post.
“I am in awe for the magnanimous gesture and happy to be working with the Chairperson whom I have known since our high school days which shall further strengthen our professional relationship and generate positive energy for the council as a whole,” councilor Tshering Dorji said. “I will do my best to live up to the expectations of all the members,” he added.
He said his priority would be to make the house as an institution of effective check and balance and to ensure harmonious relationship between the secretariat and the honorable members. He also vowed “to enhance the relevance of NC as an institution in the day to day lives of the people.”
Later, on the same day, in the presence of a Kusung Thugten, symbol of body, speech, and mind, that was placed on the golden throne to symbolize the blessing of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, the members of the council took an oath of affirmation of office, as per Article 10.18 of the constitution of the kingdom of Bhutan.
Administered by the Chief Advisor of the interim government, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye, in the NC hall, the parliamentarians pledged to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the country conscientiously discharge their duties in the service of the Tsa-wa-sum and perform the duties of their office without fear or favor, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution.
The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson took a separate affirmation of secrecy that they would not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter brought for their consideration or made known to them as Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson, except when required for the discharge of their duties, as per the constitution.
Councilor Sangay Khandu said “I am very happy that the election process was a success. On a personal note, I have conferred my best wishes to the elected members.” He said his commitment towards continued team work shall remain strong and is also thankful to friends who supported and encouraged him.
The apolitical house of review is officially reconstituted after a new set of council members were elected from 20 dzongkhags on April 23. Five former eminent persons, Dasho Karma Yezer Raydi, Kuenlay Tshering, Karma Damcho Nidup, Tashi Wangmo, and Tashi Wangyal, were re-nominated as council members through a Royal Kasho on May 6.
The nation elected a new council, a legislative institution that also functions as a house of review, for the next five years on April 23, which saw an overall turnout that was less than the first council election in 2008. The electorate replaced 14 councilors with new members and re-elected six of the total 15 former councilors who resigned to re-contest the election. The NC elections were marred by allegations of political influence from the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa.