PM says he is happy to accept the Speakers nomination
In an exclusive interview with The Bhutanese the Speaker Jigme Tshultim has announced that he will be re-contesting his seat for the 2013 General Elections.
“Given the choice I would like to retire from politics but as a public figure I have to live up to the people’s call. But this all will depend on the decision of the party and the court’s verdict,” said the National Assembly Speaker, Jigme Tshultim.
The party, however, already has made up its mind to welcome back the Speaker for the 2013 polls.
Recently a 13-member delegation from the speakers Radhi-Sakteng constituency approached the Prime Minister while in Pemagatshel ‘requesting the PM to let the Speaker accept the nomination and re-contest the 2013 elections’.
Talking to The Bhutanese Prime Minister, Jigmi Y. Thinley said, “I am very happy to accept speaker’s nomination from the 13 member delegation from his constituency and with their support I don’t see any other reason why he should not be given a ticket to re-contest.”
Lyonchhen also said, “the speaker is a very good MP and in his capacity as the speaker to the National Assembly he has made a lot of contribution to the King, Country, People and Democracy’.
Earlier in March 2012 the Speaker had written to his party stating his intention to resign as the Radhi-Sakteng constituency representative for the 2013 national elections to spare his party from the bigger issue of leadership vacuum in 2018.
Back then he said, “I’m the first one to set an example, by offering my seat for a bigger cause.” Explaining his reasons for resignation, the speaker at the time had said that most senior members of DPT would be unable to contest in 2018 because of overage.
Though it was never acknowledged by the speaker or DPT, the resignation was widely interpreted as the Speaker taking the fall for the controversy surrounding the Gyelpozhing land case.
The Speaker’s main reason to withdraw his resignation was based on strong calls from his constituency, party workers and the party to not resign.
A DPT General Meeting was held on 23rd January, 2013 in Trashigang comprising primarily of 4 DPT MPs from Trashigang excluding the Finance Minister, three DPT MPs from Mongar and around 140 party coordinators and supporters in Trashigang.
The meeting was held based on guidelines issued by the DPT head office in Thimphu whereby MPs consulted with their party workers, highlighted the achievements of the government after which party workers re-nominated the 5 incumbent DPT MPs (including the Finance Minister) from Trashigang for the 2013 race. The minutes of the meeting was compiled by MP Lhatu of Khaling-Lumang constituency. A copy of the minutes of the meeting was made available by the Speaker to the reporter.
According to the minutes of the meeting, ‘the Speaker expressed his strong desire to genuinely resign from participating in elections in a timely way to pave way for young leaders to take charge of leadership positions for the better future of the country.’
The Speaker said that his ‘resignation should be considered in the interest of the country and he would remain serving the party in other capacities throughout his life and the generations to come.’
According to the minutes of the meeting there were emotional requests from all the supporters that the Speaker should continue as their candidate. Otherwise they said they would ‘withdraw support to DPT from the East and not participate in the elections nor vote for DPT.’
‘The emotionally charged house requested the Honorable Speaker one after another to accept his nomination. This evidently showed the strong bond and loyalty that had been developed and nurtured between the MP and the constituents,” says the minutes.
In the meeting party workers said that the Speaker was capable, popular and reputed not only in his constituency but also in other constituencies.
The minutes further says, ‘Even the Honorable Home Minister had to intervene and other MPs supported the expressions of the meeting for acceptance of the nomination. With constant flow of emotions and relentless requests by the supporters from the whole Dzongkhag, the Honorable Speaker speechlessly had to stand and accept his nomination.”
‘This indeed brought back normalcy and a mood to celebrate as a DPT family with a deeper sense of dedication and devotion to support the party from the whole of eastern Bhutan. It was indeed a historic event for DPT supporters,” according to the minutes. The meeting also touched on the Gyelpozhing case.
The gathering as per the minutes ‘raised a strong voice on the Gyelpozhing case against the two Lyonpos and asked if there was any support from other Lyonpos, the government and the party.’
The supporters said that the case was a political ploy and was from many years in the past. They said that if the case is not favorable then there would be a situation where the supporters may have to take steps to approach various higher authorities or take to the streets to ensure that the two Lyonpos are able to contest for the elections and also that no precedence is established in digging out past events.
The supporters also said that similar investigations and charges should be filed against other people for past events.
Puran Gurung / Thimphu