He is expected to leave office by August 17

MB Subba

The resignation of Opposition Leader (OL) Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) has been formally accepted.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel told Kuensel that the OL would leave office by mid-August. To be specific, sources said that he would vacate the post by August 17.

OL had officially submitted his resignation to the Speaker on July 22.

He is the third elected Member of Parliament to resign prematurely.

Although the OL said that he would issue a statement after the official acceptance of his resignation, he was not available for comment.

Opposition members, including MP Dorji Wangdi and MP Passang Dorji (PhD) refused to comment.

Dewathang-Gomdar MP Ugyen Dorji said the OL had taken over the leadership reign of the party at a very critical juncture.

“His astuteness and dynamism as a leader was proven in the 2018 election when the party increased its seat in the NA from 14 to 17-member strong,” he said

The OL’s resignation has paved way for a bye-election in the Chhoekhor Tang constituency of Bumthang.

According to the Election Act of Kingdom of Bhutan 2008, a bye-election for filling any vacancy to Parliament shall be held within a period of ninety days from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy. This means that the by-election should be held within November.

The Act also mandates the election commission to revise the electoral roll of the constituency before bye-election to fill “casual” vacancy.

The acceptance of the resignation has also opened race for a new OL and the party president.

The party will choose the new OL. Party president shall be elected through a general convention.

Opposition members said that they were yet to identify the new OL candidates. Among the aspirants are two vice presidents—MP Dorji Wangdi and MP Ugyen Wangdi.

Some opposition members say that the new OL will be the de facto president of the party. It was “practically” difficult to have a non-MP party president, the opposition members said.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on July 16 announced that the OL was selected as its new director-general from mid-October this year.

The Kathmandu-based regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge-sharing centre serves eight countries-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

This will be Pema Gyamtsho’s second stint with the ICIMOD. He had previously worked with ICIMOD as a watershed specialist.