In an important and much anticipated message to the nation, His Majesty the King stressed on the importance of Bhutan’s democratic transition and the peoples central role in it. His Majesty also highlighted some key challenges to the nation like unemployment, equitable growth and the Rupee problem.
While calling for people to vote in the upcoming 2013 elections His Majesty also called on people not to be divided on ethnic, religious or political lines.
His Majesty also reiterated that the Golden Throne would continue to serve the people and the nation.
His Majesty’s speech was in the backdrop of the 105th National Day marking 105 years of Bhutan as a united political entity under the Monarchy, the fifth year of democracy and also the fifth year since His Majesty’s Coronation.
His Majesty began by saying, “This National Day is of special significance. The powers offered by our People to the King in 1907 were, after hundred years of Nation building, returned in 2008 to our People by the Druk Gyalpo. It was in that year that we held the first elections under democracy and adopted the Constitution. Today we are nearing the end of the term of the first Parliament we elected in 2008 and the culmination of the tenth and largest 5-year plan.”
His Majesty said that there was much work ahead as well as immense responsibilities as Bhutan approached 2013.“Yet, with capable and dedicated citizens who have great love for our country; with the guidance of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and; with the ever-stronger bonds between People and King, I have great confidence that we shall achieve our goals,” stated His Majesty.
His Majesty said that the people of Bhutan are unique.”We have a sense of family, community and brotherhood that inspires us to come together in times of need. I have seen this following natural disasters and most recently in the way in which all Bhutanese came forward to offer whatever little we could afford to rebuild the historic treasure, Wangduephodrang Dzong.”
His Majesty said that in other nations, difficult moments in their history were met with strife, violence and conflict as people sacrifice national interest in order to achieve individual ambitions. “In Bhutan such acts and events have never occurred. Our way of life, our heritage, loyalty and values remain strong in the hearts of our People and our People stand ready, even in times of great personal hardship, to place Nation above Self. I am so proud of our People and offer my deep gratitude for the love you have shown for your Nation.”
His Majesty then focused on some of the key challenges and obstacles that Bhutan needed to overcome.
“We have made a good start in our transition to democracy but much remains to be done,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty said the Nation has seen great socio-economic growth but it is more important that Bhutan have growth with equity. “We must raise, with all our effort, the less fortunate so that they may, at the earliest, begin to partake in the opportunities brought by modernization and progress,” His Majesty said.
On unemployment His Majesty stressed that though the government has provided education, ‘for the nation to prosper for all time, a sound education must be succeeded by access to the right jobs and responsibilities, so that youth may bloom as individuals and at the same time serve their Nation well.’
His Majesty also mentioned the ongoing rupee crisis problem. “The recent Rupee shortage is a serious problem. I feel it is a reminder that, as a Nation, we must exercise our traditional sense of caution and work even harder as we address the challenges of the time.”
His Majesty said that in the future whatever challenge came only the Bhutanese citizens can protect and safeguard Bhutan.
His Majesty called on the people to come forth and participate in the 2013 Parliament elections.
His Majesty said, “Today, the most important duty for us is the upcoming 2013 Parliament elections. I would like to say that we – all of us – are new to this democratic transition. We have all equally acquired four and a half years of experience in democracy. Experience comes with participation, so I urge you all to come forward as candidates, members of parties and voters for 2013.”
His Majesty, whoever said that achieving democracy is not the goal. “The real fruits of our efforts should be that democracy brings greater unity, harmony and prosperity to our Nation. Democracy must be able to fulfill the aspirations of our People.”
His Majesty said that Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal had unified the nation, established the dual system and laid the foundations on which a unique Bhutan was born which was further strengthened over the course of history by fifty-four Desis and generations of Bhutanese.
His Majesty said that in the last hundred years, the Wangchuck dynasty further strengthened the foundations laid by the Zhabdrung and handed over a special Nation to our People in 2008. All of this was possible because Bhutanese People have lived as one small family, true to the ideals of the Zhabdrung and the foundations of a unique and special Bhutanese identity.
“As we approach the elections of 2013, we must, therefore, keep in mind these foundations of our Nation and prevent all ethnic, religious or political divisions in our small Nation. We must participate in democracy with the spirit of harmony and fraternity,” emphasized His Majesty.
“In 2008, our democratic transition and the wholehearted participation by the people including the 80% voter turnout were lauded by the world. I urge you all to exercise your right to vote – it comes but once in 5 years – for it is an act of great benefit to the Nation,” His Majesty pointed out also saying that he was confident that the 2013 elections would be successful one.
“For me, I hold sacred the endeavors begun by my father, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. I have committed myself to bringing to fruition all the noble endeavors begun in his 34 years of service and sacrifice,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty also said that he considered it his sacred duty to ensure the success of democracy and to work to lay the strongest foundations for a vibrant democracy within his reign.
His Majesty the King also once again reiterated his commitment to serve the people and the Nation. “Above all, I believe that the Golden Throne is not a Throne of wealth, power and prestige. The Golden Throne of Bhutan is a unique Throne of Destiny to serve our People and Nation.”
His Majesty said, “As King since 2006 I have always served with complete dedication and integrity. Sometimes I may have erred. Yet, you my people, have given me even more love and support and placed your complete faith and trust in me. To our People of the 20 Dzongkhags, I offer my heartfelt gratitude and pledge that I shall give everything to be of service to you and Bhutan.”
His Majesty concluded by saying, “In this land blessed by Guru Padmasambhava, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and our Fourth Druk Gyalpo, I pray that there shall be everlasting peace, prosperity and happiness.”