Sunday, 28 December 2008

Bhutan : National interest above all else

27 December, 2008 - Although they represented different constituencies and dzongkhags, parliamentarians must deliberate on all issues with the goal of safeguarding the interests of the people in all 20 dzongkhags and the nation, His Majesty the King advised the opening session of parliament on December 24. “In the end, we are one small family,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty said that he was pleased to see the politicians and all the other players in the Bhutanese political system carrying out their responsibilities. Despite the challenge of instituting a new democracy, His Majesty said that the country was filled with a sense of quiet assurance and such a confident start was a source of optimism.

“It is also a reminder that, in order for democracy to fulfill our objective of further strengthening our nation, we must realise first that there is much work to be done,” His Majesty said. “And then, we must carry out this work with dedication and in the right spirit.”

In an opening ceremony, that was steeped in tradition, His Majesty the King was received by members of the National Assembly and the National Council and escorted to the Assembly Hall in a chipdrel procession. The session was inaugurated with the marchang and zhugdrel ceremonies.

The prime minister and members of the parliament pledged to fulfil the aspirations of His Majesty the King. Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley said that whatever success the new government had achieved thus far had been inspired by the guidance of His Majesty the King.

Highlighting events of a year, dominated by nationwide celebrations, the prime minister said that the Ta Dzong museum in Trongsa, which was dedicated to the Wangchuck dynasty, the Changlimithang national stadium, Tendrel Thang, Centennial park, the expanded Dechenphu complex, and renovation of the National Memorial Chhorten complex were some of the important monuments that would commemorate this historic year.

He added that the government would not measure success in terms of the strength of the party but in terms of the success of democracy.

The National Assembly Speaker, Tshogpoen Jigme Tshultim, said that some of the issues prioritised in the 10th Plan will include the reduction of unemployment and poverty alleviation; construction of roads in all the gewog centres, supply of electricity to rural Bhutan, and setting up of one-stop centres were other important goals.

Responding to the opposition leader’s call for the government to present broader policy issues, the speaker said that issues were important and would be discussed when the 10th Plan is tabled.

By Passang Norbu

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