“The duties and functions of parliament are sacred, and of immense significance and importance,” His Majesty The King said at the closing session of the second parliament yesterday.

Addressing the parliament, His Majesty said that in a rapidly changing world, the mandate and responsibilities of parliament are grave.

“Noble thoughts and good intent are not enough. We require intelligence and skill to fulfill such a role. Above all, we need the sincerity and dedication that comes from true patriotism to serve the nation.”

His Majesty said that Parliamentary discussions covered numerous and diverse issues in the interests of the nation and the people.

“The discussions and debate are not meant to settle individual or political differences. They go far beyond personal intentions, benefits, and motives,” His Majesty said.

In the process of debate on issues of grave national importance, His Majesty said, it is inevitable that there would be differences of views, disagreements, and heated exchanges.

“The Parliament is also the institution that is responsible for the important task of balancing present needs and future goals,” His Majesty said. While the Parliament must serve to the best of abilities, it should for the future, frame the best goals, policies, and plans.

An air of accomplishment and mirth pervaded the Parliament hall, which frequently erupted into chaos and harsh debates in the past four and a half years.

With their heads bowed towards the Golden Throne, members adorned a docile look, as their representatives took turns to thank Their Majesties, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, and the Members of the Royal Family for their selfless and continued service to the security, peace, prosperity and harmony of the country.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, National Council Chairperson Sonam Kinga, Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho, and the National Assembly Speaker Jigme Zangpo thanked Their Majesties for gifting the nation with His Royal Highness The Gyalsey, who had impressed both the leaders and people of India and Thailand during the state visits earlier this year.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said Bhutanese are most fortunate to be subjects under the rule of the benevolent Kings in a sovereign and prosperous nation, enjoying peace and harmony.

He made special mention of His Majesty’s involvement in resolving the recent situation at Doklam, which threatened the sovereignty of the country.

“Most Bhutanese don’t know but His Majesty visited the place and resolved the tension for which I on behalf of the entire Bhutanese population thank you,” he said.

Sonam Kinga added that the President of India, during Their Majesties’ visit to India recently, conveyed deep appreciation for His Majesty’s personal involvement and guidance and the support provided by Bhutan in addressing the recent situation in the Doklam area.

“Despite his age, HRH The Gyalsey has done in a matter of days what the ministries and agencies took years in strengthening the relations between Bhutan and India,” National Council chairperson Sonam Kinga said.

He said that despite being only a decade old, Bhutan’s democracy has matured beyond a fledgling democracy and has become exemplary across the world. “Thanks to His Majesty’s guidance.”

His Majesty motivated people to vote in the first parliamentary elections in 2008, reminded about the nation’s priorities on numerous public occasions, and supporting the decisions of the Parliament by granting assent to every legislation.

Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho said that as promised during His coronation, His Majesty has continued to rule the subjects as a parent, brother, and son.

He said that His Majesty The King continues to strengthen peace, security and sovereignty of the country, granting Kidu to the people in form of land to the landless, medical aid to the sick, homes to the homeless, scholarships to the destitute students, granting citizenships and many others.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo thanked His Majesty and His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

He said the clergy continues to serve for the wellbeing of the nation.

The Speaker updated the House on the Parliament’s business in the last session. It enacted the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, and Substance Abuse (Amendment) Bill 2017, Information, Communication and media Bill 2017, and Tourism Levy Exemption Bill of Bhutan 2017, the Audit Bill 2017, passed the Agreement between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.

Led by the central monk body, the members of the Parliament offered Zhabtoen or prayers for the good health and long life of His Majesty The King, and Tashi Moenlam, a tradition that symbolises the fidelity between The Druk Gyalpo and the people of Bhutan.

His Majesty The King, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, and members of the Royal Family, graced the closing ceremony. Members of the international community, civil society organisations, civil service, armed forces, and the clergy also attended the closing ceremony.

Tshering Palden