The DPT in its recent meeting appointed 10 MPs to be in charge of the 10 ministries similar to the shadow ministers system present in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada etc. The DPT prefers to call them a more diplomatic ‘opposition in charge of the ministry’ though the function comes to the same thing.
The appointment of mainly former and experienced DPT ministers to former charges held by them is expected to increase the pressure on a young government with relatively inexperienced ministers.
In response to a question on the issue the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said, “We welcome the announcement by the Opposition party as shadow ministers are not uncommon and in fact is an established way of working in many Parliaments. The Opposition Leader is in fact the shadow Prime Minister.”
With a hint of humor the PM said that while in Opposition he and his colleague (Lyonpo Damcho Dorji) had attempted to be shadow ministers for 10 ministers.
He said that it was fortunate to have enough opposition MPs so that they can appoint shadow ministers. “It is positive and it will only help democracy and so we welcome this announcement,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said that any MP can be a shadow minister and there is no question that former ministers would make excellent shadow ministers given their experience. “But in some cases their age will not allow them to participate in the next elections and so it would be good if younger ones are trained but this is my personal observation and it is up to them how they conduct their business,” said the PM.
The Minister of Information and Communications Lyonpo Dina Nath Dhungyel said that since the government was relatively inexperienced they expected the ‘experienced seniors’ to assist them in good governance, better decision making and delivering services to the people.
The DPT in its recent convention held on 3rd December 2013 had its 15 MPs adopting various ministries and agencies.
Most of the shadow ministers would be taking up their former ministries but given that the Education, Communications and Home Ministry are vacant other MPs have been appointed there.
Former Finance Minister Wangdi Norbu has been assigned the finance ministry, former MoWHS minister Yeshey Zimba has been assigned the MoWHS, former Health Minister Zangley Drukpa has been assigned the Health Ministry.
Former Labour Minister Dorji Wangdi has taken the Education Ministry while former MoEA minister and prior to 2008 a Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk has taken the Foreign Ministry.
The new players are Choida Jamtsho who took up the Agriculture Ministry, Kinga Tshering who took up the MoEA and Duptho who took up the Ministry of Information and Communications.
MP Karma Rangdol will handle land and resources, MP Dechen Zangmo women and children issues, Jigme Wangchuk youth related issues and Nidup Zangpo would handle the environment.