On May 10, 2023, the National Council (NC) representative from Chukha district, Sangay Dorji, was elected as Chairperson of the NC. He secured 13 votes. The new Chairperson of the NC, speaks about his priorities and other aspects as head of the House of Review in exclusive interview with Business Bhutan’s Sangay Rabten.
Business Bhutan (BB): How do you feel being elected as the National Council (NC) Chairperson?
Ans: Winning the election at the district level in itself was a joyful moment and I have mixed feelings for being elected as NC Chairperson. With a higher post, greater responsibilities have fallen on me. I have to represent the Nation. It is for the cause of the country.
BB: Why do you think you were elected from the four candidates who competed?
Answer: It must be because the elected members have confidence in me. All the elected members are equally qualified and capable to carry out the role of NC Chairperson. I do not possess any extraordinary qualities but I feel they must have referred to my service history. Having worked as a civil servant for many years and being a NC member for the second time, the representatives must have thought that I would be a better “class captain.”
BB: What will be your role as NC Chairperson? How will you solve unforeseen issues in the House?
Ans: All NC elected members have equal responsibilities to fulfill the vision of His Majesty and aspirations of the people. The main obligation is to protect the sovereignty and security of the country. The NC should be apolitical and the Chairperson should preside over the NC and enforce its rules of procedure for the orderly conduct of the proceedings, preserve dignity and decorum in the hall, maintain discipline amongst the members, sign Bills passed by the NA, represent the NC in its relation with His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, the Executive and the Judiciary; and establish inter-parliamentary relations.
I do not see any untoward incident as all the members are highly qualified and experienced. To run the House is not a responsibility of one but a shared responsibility.
However, should any unforeseen situation arise, I will use my situational leadership skills but not as a “boss”. With five years of experience in NC, I have matured. I will ensure that the House functions smoothly.
BB: How will you carry out your roles and responsibilities in five years?
Ans: There are no demarcated roles and responsibilities for the designated post than to preside and enforce rules of procedure. The main functions of the House are to legislate and review the laws and policies and carry out oversight roles.
I will lead and facilitate the House in the most efficient way to strengthen democracy to benefit people.
BB: What will be your priorities in the House of Review?
Ans: I want to strengthen coordination among the members of the two Houses and other related agencies. But I do not mean it was not there. Teamwork is important and the Eminent Members and elected Members should come together. All the Acts will be legislated and reviewed as per the Constitution to deliver the needs of people as a team. Besides legislating and reviewing, the rules and regulations will be scrutinized. This is to fulfill the vision of His Majesty and maintain the health of the state.
BB: How will you work with the National Assembly?
Ans: The National Assembly (NA) is the House of Executive and NC is the House of Legislation and Review. The NC will maintain check and balance in the work of NA. The House will review and see that the pledges of NA are sustainable and the national budget is spent properly. The NC will support the government and work as a parallel body.
BB: You pledged to focus on youth related issues, advocate multi-pronged interventions to address social inequalities and be responsive to citizens’ needs during the election campaign besides other pledges. How are you going to fulfill your pledges?
Ans: Though I will be Chairperson where I should represent the country, I will not forget my constituency. Besides carrying the responsibilities of NC Chairperson, I will also take care of Chukha Dzongkhag.
All the members of NC have concern on youth related issues and social inequalities besides other national issues. There are so many ways to solve the issues through review and oversight roles. Deemed appropriately, people will be taken care of with integrity. The House will consult with nine ministries and related stakeholders. We will leave no stone unturned.
BB: How will you balance your role as NC Chairperson and NC Member?
Ans: With bigger responsibilities, there comes more space. For having been elected as NC Chairperson, I will have more space and reach, while Chukha Dzongkhag will be taken care of. Hence, I can serve more and contribute more to the country and people. Collaborating with ministries, three Arm Forces and stakeholders, we can build a stronger nation.
BB: Other comments.
Ans: It is because of the support of the people that I have been re-elected and the NC Members have elected me as Chairperson. I thank all the people and I expect the same support from all to take our country ahead and make our country beautiful and happy.