Politics: National Assembly (NA) Speaker Jigme Zangpo accepted North Thimphu representative Kinga Tshering’s resignation yesterday.

The speaker accepted Kinga Tshering’s resignation after the latter submitted his resignation on August 11. The MP is said to have filed his resignation after the NA could not grant him a long-term study leave to attend Harvard University in the USA.

“We had no choice but to accept your resignation since the house could neither find ways nor solutions to approve your long term leave,” the speaker’s letter states.

After the MP secured a scholarship to the university, he sought long-term leave from the National Assembly. But when the NA’s internal committee and the opposition assessed the possibilities of granting leave by referring to the Constitution, National Assembly Act and other relevant laws, it was found impossible to grant such leave.

“Since the provisions of the Constitution and relevant laws do not permit such long term leave to Members of Parliament, Kinga Tshering was given a month-long paid leave starting June 26 to August 8 to sort out with the university whether the scholarship could be put off to a later date,” the letter states.

But when negotiations with the university failed, the MP on June 21 wrote to the house asking for extension of his leave.

The extended leave application however could not be approved according to the letter from the speaker.

As a result, the MP on August 11 then tabled his resignation from abroad.

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said that the opposition was surprised with the speaker’s decision. “We were completely kept in the dark on the decision,” Dorji Wangdi said, questioning why the decision was rushed without even consulting the opposition.

The party on August 16 had also written to Kinga Tshering to return to Bhutan immediately after his leave extension was rejected. Opposition leader (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said that the party had written to its member to return home immediately. “We informed that he has to submit the resignation in person even if he wishes to resign,” (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said.

As far as the resignation is concerned, the opposition leader said that it is up to the speaker to accept or deny the resignation since Kinga Tshering is a serving member in the National Assembly.

The speaker in the letter however lamented the loss of a brilliant, competent and qualified member. “Although provisions of the National Assembly Act allows the Members of Parliament to table their resignation letter as per their will, as speaker I am regretful for losing a competent member such as yourself,” the letter states.

Wishing the MP the best in his future pursuits, the speaker informed Kinga Tshering that he would be entitled to all his retirement benefits as per the provisions of the Parliamentary Entitlement Act.

The speaker also wrote to the chief election commission -er informing him that the north Thimphu constituency is now vacant.

Tempa Wangdi