National Assembly (NA) secretariat has confirmed that there would be 11th session of the Parliament to fulfill the need to have two sessions of Parliament in a year.

The secretariat on April 24 notified that the 11th session would commence from June 15 and asked constitutional bodies and local bodies to submit reports or agenda, if any, for deliberation before May 25.

However, NA’s secretary general, Sangay Duba, told Kuensel that the session is expected to be shorter than past sessions.

“What we suspect is that the government may not table new bills so that this upcoming session would be a short one. The government may not have much time to table new bills,” he said.

Sangay Duba also said that NA secretariat was not expecting many issues from the local governments.

However, the secretary general did not specify whether NA would deliberate budget issues in the upcoming session. He said that the agenda for the session would be decided by a plenary meeting, which he said, would be convened about a week before the session starts.

“Normally, a plenary is held about a week before the commencement of the Parliament session,” he said.

Although Speaker Jigme Zangpo was not available for comment, the announcement of the 11th session confirms that there would be no early dissolution of Parliament. 

In an earlier interview, NA’s legislative committee chairperson, Ritu Raj Chhetri, said that the 11th session might deliberate Audit Bill 2017 in a joint session of Parliament. Both the houses of Parliament could not agree on some provisions of the Bill, which became a disputed Bill.

According to Article 10, Section 24 of the Constitution, premature dissolution of NA may take place on the recommendation of the prime minister to the Druk Gyalpo or in the event of a motion of no confidence vote against the government or in accordance with section 12 of Article 15.

Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD), said, “We expect the prime ministers’ state of the nation address and discussion on audit report lasting just a few days only.”

Prime minister’s annual state of the nation report is due to be presented in the 11th session.

Article 10(10) of the Constitution requires the prime minister to present an annual report in a joint sitting of Parliament.

Opposition leader said that the provision was already there for recurrent budget to be provided and there is no basis to approve any capital budget.

“It will be unfair on all the other political parties to discuss the capital budget going beyond the term of the current NA,” he said.

The Speaker in an earlier interview said that the inability of the 11th session to pass the capital budget could hamper the progress of ongoing activities such as construction of roads and bridges. He added that it was up to the government to forge consensus and pass the capital budget for the ongoing projects to save them from being affected.

The present government is expected to complete is term by the end of July. New government is expected would be formed between November and December 2018.

According to Article 12(5) of the Constitution, NA is required to assemble twice a year.

MB Subba