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People’s Democratic Party president is Bhutan's prime minister-elect

Publication Date : 22-07-2013


The winning candidates of the People’s Democratic Party unanimously elected through a secret ballot the party president, Tshering Tobgay, as the prime minister of the new government on Friday morning in Thimphu.

Former South Thimphu candidate, Tandin Wangmo, who is now the party spokesperson, said in a press conference which had several retakes, that article 17, section I of the Constitution states the Druk Gyalpo shall confer dakyen to the leader or nominee of the party, which wins the majority of seats in the National Assembly, as the prime minister.

“However, based on our party ideology of wangtse chirphel, the party president, Tshering Tobgay, insisted that we set up a new system, whereby all the MPs-elect, through a secret ballot, elect the prime minister of the country,” she said.

This, she said, was done for two reasons – one, if the party president loses from his own constituency, then the candidates will be able to nominate and elect among themselves the leader of the country.

"Secondly, if there are many capable candidates among the MPs-elect, then they’ll be able to elect the most capable as the prime minister," Tandin Wangmo said.

In a secret ballot held behind closed doors by the 32 winning candidates, 30 voted "Yes", while one candidate, Jigme Zangpo, voted yes over the telephone, as he was not yet in Thimphu. The president himself abstained.

The prime minister-elect, Tshering Tobgay, expressed his gratitude to all the candidates for reposing their trust and confidence in him, and said he was humbled by their support.

“It’s about setting the highest possible standard for the democratic process and the party,” the prime minister–elect Tshering Tobgay said. “We can’t take it for granted about who would be the prime minister; it’s important for now and it’s important for the future.”

The MPs-elect spokesperson Tandin Wangmo said they have also handed over the power to the prime minister to nominate names for the ministerial candidates and submit them to the executive committee on July 21 for endorsement. “Only then, shall we submit the names to His Majesty the King.”

Gasa candidate Damcho Dorji had said at the meeting that, given the paramount role of the ministers in the government, and the collective responsibility of the cabinet, the candidates should first be nominated by the prime minister-elect, and then presented to the executive committee for endorsement.

“The reason why they gave the prime minister full authority is because the prime minister must take full accountability of the cabinet,” the Prime Minister-elect Tshering Tobgay said.

Prime Minister-elect Tshering Tobgay said the party has more than enough candidates to choose from, and that qualification, experience, commitment and capability are some factors that would be considered while choosing the ministers.

On whether factors such as gender, regional balance and his pledges to appoint ministers from certain districts during his campaign, would also be looked at while choosing the ministers, the prime minister-elect said. "The first factor that we’ll look at is who can serve the king, country and people best,” he said. “And PDP as a party intends to keep all our pledges.”


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