OL remains tight-lipped about resignation

Speculations are rife that he will submit his resignation in mid-August

With the recent news of Opposition Leader Dr (Phd) Pema Gyamtsho being selected as the Director General of International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an international organization based in Nepal, questions about his resignation and a bye-election have been afloat for some time now.

This has been compounded by the fact that the OL has refused to make a public statement. As of now, the OL, Member of Parliament (MP) from Chhoekhor-Tang Constituency in Bumthang has not submitted his resignation to the party and the National Assembly Speaker nor has he informed the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).

However, some sources revealed that OL will be submitting his resignation in mid-August.

According to the National Assembly Act 2008, a member’s seat will be vacant upon resignation, death, disqualification or removal and expiration of the term office. Apart from that, if a member remains absent for more than one-fourth of the number of days in a session without the permission of the House, his or her seat will be declared to be vacant. The Act also states that if a member’s seat becomes vacant, an election to fill the vacancy will be issued within one month and the election will be held within 90 days from the date of vacancy.

An official from ECB said that they are not in a position to comment since they have not received or heard anything from the OL. The ECB is waiting for an official statement in writing and accordingly it will follow the procedure for the next step.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa party members have been sharing, if any, scant information. Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said: “OL is still a serving member and all we know is he has been selected as DG.”

When Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) was quizzed on their next move following the news, the party’s General Secretary (GS), Phurba, said that DNT has not received an official letter from ECB for the nomination of a candidate from the said constituency and they will begin the discussion and formally nominate a candidate after they receive a letter from ECB.

However, the DNT General Secretary said that personally, he would want Dawa, the former candidate of Chhoekhor-Tang Constituency, to contest the bye-election given his capability and experience. “But procedures would be followed for the nomination. I am just expressing my view,” he said.

He added that the Executive Committee of the party would decide the candidate for Chhoekhor-Tang Constituency.

The Executive Committee comprises the president (Prime Minister), a minister, two MPs, two members (out of Parliament), General Secretary and a Treasurer.

Meanwhile Dawa told Business Bhutan that he has not yet decided to what to do next. He said it will depend on the decision of his party and the party leaders. “But more importantly than the decision of my party and the party leaders the reaction from the people of my constituency matters,” he said.

In the 2018 elections, Dawa lost to Dr. Pema Gyamtsho in the general round. Dawa secured 1,536 votes while Dr (Phd) Pema Gyamtsho won with 3,251 votes. There were 6,051 registered voters in Chhoekhor-Tang constituency in Bumthang.

ICIMOD shared the news of Opposition Leader’s appointment as its new Director General on its official Facebook page on July 17. The post read: “We are excited to announce that our Board of Governors has selected a new Director General Dr Pema Gyamtsho who will take up the position at the retirement of our current Director General Dr David Molden in mid-October.”