Election process for Bye-election to North-Thimphu seat to start next month

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) in a press release issued yesterday said that it would start the election process for the vacant North-Thimphu seat of the former DPT MP Kinga Tshering from October onwards.

The ECB said that it received a letter on 22nd of August 2016 from the Speaker of the Parliament of Bhutan, informing that the North-Thimphu constituency has fallen vacant as of 11th of August 2016 upon resignation of its Member of Parliament.

“Accordingly, the election process for the Bye-elections will begin in early October 2016, upon receipt of a Royal Decree and as per the provisions of the Electoral Laws, such that the election would be completed within the period of the prescribed 90 days,” said the release.

The Election Schedule will be guided by the legal provisions and the necessity to ensure that the Bye-election would not overlap with the on-going Local Government elections in the four affected gewogs while at the same time ensuring that it would be possible for the Demkhong representative to attend the winter session of Parliament.

It would provide the Demkhong electorate, the political parties in Parliament who would nominate the candidates, and the aspirant candidates time to process and prepare for their participation in the Bye-elections.

The National Assembly Speaker Tshogpon Jigme Zangpo on 22nd August accepted the resignation of the DPT MP Kinga Tshering from the North-Thimphu constituency.

The MP had originally put up his resignation on 11th August 2016 from the Harvard University.

However, given the request of the Opposition Party, which was trying to change his mind, the Speaker waited for the MP to come in person which he did on 22nd August and reconfirmed his resignation.

The Opposition party despite having a meeting on the issue failed to convince the North-Thimphu MP who was one of the ministerial candidates of 2013 and a potential future leader.

As per a notification on the National Assembly website the Speaker accepted the resignation of Kinga Tshering who came in person and stood by his original resignation letter of 11th August.

It has been learnt that the Speaker in turn gave the MP an acceptance letter of the resignation letter thereby completing the process.

The NA website notification says that the MP had originally applied for study leave to undertake a course in Harvard University. The Opposition party leadership also requested the same based on the MP’s request.

The Speaker referred the matter to the House Committee of the NA whose membership consists of the 10 Chairpersons of the 10 various house committees. The committee got back saying such an extended leave would violate provisions of the Constitution, National Assembly Act, Rules of Procedure of Parliament as the MP has to attend two sessions a year, do committee work, visit his constituency and represent the Parliament.

Again based on the request of the MP and the Opposition party the Speaker granted a one month paid leave for the MP to go to Harvard and renegotiate the course for 2018 which is after his term.

Once in USA the MP on completing a month asked for an extension, and on not being granted the extension he submitted his resignation. At the same time the Opposition party also requested him to come back once, hoping to change his mind.

However, Kinga Tshering’s mind was made up and he came back to formally get his resignation process complete.

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