In 2008, we took on the enormous responsibility to usher in a democratic system of governance. It gives me great pleasure today to find us all here five years later, at the final session of the first parliament.
Today we have a happy, prosperous country that is stronger than ever before. It is the culmination of all the hard work and commitment of our forefathers, the selfless service of our successive Kings, and the continual support rendered by the people that laid the foundations and enabled us to introduce democracy so successfully.
Many things went through my mind as we embarked on this journey in 2008. I thought about the extraordinary service that His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo rendered to the people in the 34 years of His Reign, as well as the sacrifices he made to ensure the happiness and prosperity of the people.I thought about the great expectations that the people had from the new system of governance. I was mindful of the enormity of the responsibility that we had all been given, and felt heavily, the weight of all that it entailed.
In the five years that have passed since, we have continually strengthened the foundations of our democracy, and firmly established strong democratic institutions. Most importantly, we have gained valuable experience, which will be indispensable not only for the democratic process, but also for our country and people in the times to come. I commend the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, and Members of the first Parliament, for participating in the elections and serving the people without faltering in their duties.
After I ascended the Golden Throne as the Fifth King of Bhutan, we have had five events of historical importance take place in our country – the introduction of Parliamentary democracy, the adoption of our Constitution, the Coronation, the Royal Wedding, and the Pel Dechhog Khorlo Dompai Wangchhen, which gave more than a hundred thousand devotees the opportunity to receive sacred blessings. All these events were carried out successfully and were truly auspicious for our country.
This year marks the end of the 10th five-year plan, under which development activities were implemented well in the past five years. It is promising for the future of our democracy that five parties have come forward to participate in the next elections. It is important that we nurture our democracy as a unique political system. We sometimes see other countries embroiled in the difficult challenge of bad democratic practices. It is imperative that we abandon democracy’s vices and cultivate only the good practices so that we can put them into our service. Our democracy must always be clean, healthy and strong. The most important thing is that we are always able to inspire our people’s complete faith and trust in our democracy.
I convey heartfelt gratitude from the people of Bhutan to the People and Government of India, for the unwavering support given to us, which has played no small part in our success. In January this year, I was invited as the Chief Guest at the 64th Republic Day Celebrations of India. His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo graced the celebrations in 1954, and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo was the Chief Guest in 1984 and 2005.
These invitations reflect the admiration, respect and support that the people and Government of India have for Bhutan. The friendship between India and Bhutan, which was born with the historic visit of Pandit Nehru in 1958, is unique and exemplary. I am confident that our friendship will grow stronger in times to come.
I express deep gratitude to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, who is a truly farsighted leader, for entrusting us to set up and build a vibrant democracy in a strong, successful nation that he worked tirelessly to build.
In conclusion, I would like to say a prayer for our country. I pray that we build a vibrant democracy based on our Constitution, and through it, ensure that powers continue to reach the hands of our people. I pray that with the support of our people, we strengthen the Rule of Law and through the Rule of Law, we consolidate institutions of check and balance, which in turn promote good governance. And I pray that good governance becomes the means to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of our people, reinforce the security and sovereignty of our country and foster the prosperity of our people.
I pray that the sun of peace and happiness shines in our country for all times to come.