Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) has said that he was disheartened with the Prime Minister’s statement about the former ministers’ inability to vacate Ministers’ Enclave even after the completion of their tenure in 2013.

Speaking at the Opposition’s last press conference yesterday in Thimphu, the opposition leader said, “We were disheartened to hear such disrespectful words from the prime minister.”

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on July 30 had said that the ministers of the former government had stayed in the Minister’s Enclave even during the campaign period, which according to him was not a good precedent.

Former finance minister Wangdi Norbu said that the former ministers had obtained permission from the department of national properties (DNP) to stay at the enclave for three months. He said the former ministers did not have time to look for houses since they were campaigning.

“Such a remark from the government was uncalled for. The government should talk about issues that are more important than this,” Wangdi Norbu said, adding that the official residences were properly handed over to DNP.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that all the ministers and Speaker Jigme Zangpo would leave their official residence latest by today, coinciding with the dissolution of the National Assembly.

He said members of the caretaker Cabinet would continue to use their office until an interim government is constituted as per Article 19(3) of the Constitution. The interim government will be formed within fifteen days from the dissolution of the National Assembly.  “We will welcome the interim government and leave office.”

All the MPs will gather in the National Assembly hall today to surrender their kabney and patang to mark the completion of their tenure.

“We, the prime minister and ministers, are MPs as well. So we will surrender our kabney and patang as well,” the prime minister said.

Such a ceremony to mark the end of their term is being organised for the first time. The practice will be institutionalised, according to the National Assembly secretariat.

The prime Minister said that the ministers would surrender their Prados after the formation of the interim government. The ministers will also surrender all their office equipment including laptops.

The interim government ceases to exist on the day the new prime minister is sworn in.

MB Subba