Extraordinary session of the parliament in the pipeline

According to the speaker of the NA, the most likely bills that could be discussed in this session are those arising due to the transformation and restructuring exercises

While there is still time for the 8th session of the Third Parliament or the Winter Session to be held, a special session could be held before that in lieu of the transformation and restructuring exercise of the civil service.

The final decisions made need to be brought to the National Assembly, which could lead to changes in some of the existing Acts.

It is in accordance with Article 10, Section 12 of the Constitution, which states, “The speaker and the chairperson shall convene an extraordinary sitting of parliament on the command of Druk Gyalpo if the exigencies of the situation so demand.”

Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Lyonpo Wangchuk Namgyel said that though the dates have not been finalized, it would be done after receiving the bills from the relevant committee and following due process.

“We are in the process of discussing with both the houses,” he said, noting that the precise date and other details would be known after a few days.

He added that certain provisions may need to be added in certain Acts or amendments made based on the exercises and final decisions of the transformation exercise.

However, the Speaker said the special sessions will not feature any disputed bills or earlier bills that were discussed in the 7th session or before that.

“The extraordinary session comes with a specific agenda,” he said.

Additionally, the leader of the opposition party, Dorji Wangdi further stated that the key agenda of the special session, if it occurs, will be around systemic transformation and economic transformation, which are the two main roots of the transformation exercise.

“As systematic reforms are being carried out, there may be laws proposed in this session, “he said, adding that the bills need to be tabled because of the change in the structure of the government.

He underlined that numerous reorganization efforts are currently underway for the benefit of the nation, due to which, some agencies will need to be merged, upgraded, downgraded, or even abolished.

“With the merging of the agencies, all the existing laws have to change and for agencies to function legal validation and legal backing are required,” he said, citing examples of restructuring of the civil service, the merging of the ministries, and others.

Further, he said that, unlike the usual procedures, the beauty of such sessions is that the bills will be passed in this session itself, unlike in normal cases.

“We are blessed by the extraordinary leadership of His Majesty the King and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and every one of us who must give full support for this transformation to work,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the National Council, Lyonpo Tashi Dorji also said that they are in the process of discussing and that nothing is finalized as of now.

This will be the second extraordinary session of the Parliament, since the inception of democracy, if it is held. The first was held on March 15, 2010.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu