National Assembly to elect Speakers today

The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) nominated Wangchuk Namgyel from Wangdue’s Nyishog Saephu constituency for the post of the National Assembly Speaker as the house votes today.

Tshencho Wangdi from Kabisa-Talo constituency from Punakha is the party’s candidate for Deputy Speaker.

Wangchuk Namgyel, 56, has worked in the education ministry for 27 years. He has a PGDE and a Masters in History.

Tshencho Wangdi, 33, is a former travel consultant and businessman. He has an MA in International Relations.

Opposition Party Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has nominated its own candidates for the two posts for the first time. DPT’s Ugyen Wangdi, 49, from Drametsi-Ngatshang constituency in Mongar will contest for the post of Speaker against Wangchuk Namgyel, while Karma Wangchuk, 48, from Bumthang’s Chumi-Ura constituency will vie for the post of Deputy Speaker.

At a press conference in Thimphu yesterday, DNT spokesperson Dr Tandi Dorji said the party had asked the National Assembly secretariat to invite candidature from the opposition. “The nominations from the opposition party are most welcome,” he said.

He said the ruling party’s gesture towards the opposition was not only allowed by the law but also was aimed at promoting harmony and unity. The party, he said, wanted to avoid divisive politics.

Dr Tandi Dorji said DNT was considering the post of Deputy Speaker for the Opposition. “We were also considering whether we should give the Deputy Speaker’s post to the Opposition. We want to set examples. But it depends on the election.”

Former two-time MP Ugyen Wangdi has an LLB and an LLM. Karma Wangchuk has a Bachelors degree in Indigenous Medicine and worked as a drungtsho since 1998.

DNT commands 30 seats in the 47-member National Assembly, while opposition DPT has 17 seats.

“Normally, nomination of the candidates takes place in Parliament. We will follow the rules. Most probably, there will be an election,” Dr Tandi Dorji said.

DPT spokesperson Dorji Wangdi in an earlier interview told Kuensel said that the party had decided to submit its nominee for Speaker’s post given Ugyen Wangdi’s background and experience. He said that the Speaker could come from any party given the non-partisan nature of the post.

The nomination must be seconded by another member and accompanied by a statement by the nominee that he or she is willing to serve as the Speaker.

The MPs-elect would assemble at 10am today. This will be the first sitting convened for an oath taking ceremony and for election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Any member may submit a nomination of a member for the post of the Speaker although the winning party normally nominates a candidate.

Meanwhile, members-elect of the third National Assembly presented their certificates of election to the Secretary General of the National Assembly yesterday. The secretary general briefed the MPs-elect  on the first sitting, according to the secretariat website.

 

MB Subba  

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