While the last date of nomination for the post of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of National Council (NC) is on 9 May, 2023, Business Bhutan learned that there are about four to five members competing for the Chairman’s post and three to five for the Deputy Chair’s post.
Sources said that the elected members of Trashigang, Paro, Chukha and Mongar are vying for the post of Chairperson, while elected members of Haa, Trashiyangtse, Sarpang and Pemagatshel are doing the same for the post of Deputy Chairperson.
While four seem to have been confirmed, some NC members told Business Bhutan that there are about five nominees for the post of Chairperson and about three-five nominees for the post of Deputy Chairperson.
The roles of the Chairperson are to preside over the National Council 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 National Council, represent the National Council in its relation with the Druk Gyalpo, the Executive and the Judiciary; and establish inter-parliamentary relations.
Whenever the Chairperson from illness or other cause finds it necessary to leave the chair during any part of the sitting of the National Council, the Deputy Chairperson shall preside over such sittings, until the Chairperson resumes the chair.
The Deputy Chairperson presiding over the sitting during the period of the Chairperson’s absence shall enjoy the same powers and privileges of the Chairperson. He shall also perform the duties of the Chairperson and every such act performed by him shall have the same effect and validity as that of the Chairperson.
As per Article 11 of the Constitution, ‘National Council’ states that “At the first sitting after any National Council election, or when necessary to fill a vacancy, the National Council shall elect a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson from among its members.”
Meanwhile, political observers say that it is very important to have a NC Chairperson who is very capable. “Though all have 10 years and more experience in diverse fields, being an NC member is different. I am not undermining the elected members, but all should ensure that the Chairperson is strong,” a former journalist said. According to him, if the NC is not strong the National Assembly (NA) members will “ride over them.” “Additionally, Bhutan is going through transformation and several other important subjects. The NC should be united,” he added.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu