Friday, 6 May 2011

Bhutan - His Majesty issues Kasho on Local Goverment Elections

During the audience granted to those who had appealed against their disqualification, His Majesty the King said that their appeal and the submissions made by the Prime Minister on behalf of the National Assembly, National Council and the two political parties, was with regard to the failure of the respective political parties to abide by the laws on procedures for de-registration in particular and on the interpretation of the laws on de-registration in general. Thus, the appeal would merit full consideration from the relevant agencies, if the individuals had themselves acted in accordance with the laws.

His Majesty said that the Election Commission of Bhutan was simply abiding by the Constitutional requirement that Local Governments must be apolitical. His Majesty said, “I have always encouraged political participation and the growth of political parties. Having heeded my request to all citizens to participate in the political process in the past, you may now, as prospective candidates for Local Government offices, be surprised that your participation in political parties have hindered your chances to run for office in Local Government. The Constitution requires apolitical Local Governments for very important reasons. Local Government responsibilities are very different from those of political parties or any other institution. Local Governments are the foundation for grassroots democracy. They must have intimate knowledge of the daily lives of the people in their constituencies; work in constant and close interaction with their people and nurture cooperation, consensus and close-knit communities. In a largely rural country Local Governments are even more important not just in carrying out vital duties towards achieving development objectives of their people, but also in bringing about a harmonious society.”

His Majesty said, “As individuals, having a preference for a political party is not bad. The majority of people will always hold certain preferences. However, in carrying out one’s duties as part of an apolitical institution, we must keep our political affiliations aside. It is as simple as carrying out one’s official duties without being biased by preference for family and friends at the cost of the larger community.”

His Majesty said that he always encouraged institutions to resolve issues on their own, through consultation. He said, “Once the Throne is involved, the Throne will protect the Constitution and the laws in place – it has no other path before it.”

His Majesty said that, “the sacred Constitutional duty of the King is to protect and uphold this Constitution in the best interest and for the welfare of the people of Bhutan. As I do so, I shall seek if necessary, the Supreme Court’s opinion, for the Supreme Court is the guardian of this Constitution and the final authority of its interpretation.”

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