Dissolving the government

In his inaugural address last Friday, the Speaker announced that the government has proposed for the early dissolution of the National Assembly.

According to Article 10, Section 24 of the Constitution:

“… While the National Council shall complete its five-year term, premature dissolution of the National Assembly may take place on the recommendation of the Prime Minister to the Druk Gyalpo …”

So yes, the government can recommend the dissolution of the National Assembly before the completion of its term.

The government can do so. But they should not. Why? Because, the government is forcing early elections for their own narrow interests, not for the greater interests of the nation. And that is a bad precedent.

The government’s main excuse for forcing early elections – that, otherwise, the monsoons would interfere with the elections – is nonsense. That’s for ECB to decide, not the government. And the ECB has not even hinted that the monsoons could compromise their ability to conduct this year’s elections.

The government’s other excuse for forcing early elections – that, otherwise, the 11th Five Year Plan would suffer – is absurd. Surely, forcing early elections by 4 to 5 weeks cannot affect a whole five-year plan. Besides, an interim government along with the entire civil service will continue working on the 11th Plan during the three months leading up to the elections.

The government should be honest. They should admit that they want to dissolve the National Assembly before the completion of its term to force early elections. And that they want to force early elections to ensure an easy, perhaps even complete, victory in the upcoming elections.

The ruling party is ready for the elections. During the past six months, the government and their MPs have used their powers of incumbency to prepare for the elections. On the other hand, the new parties have only just received permission to “introduce” themselves to the people. To make matters worse, all the other parties, including the opposition, are still scrambling to finalize their candidates for the elections.

Early elections would favour the ruling party disproportionately. If they want to use that advantage, that’s their business. But they should not pull the wool over our eyes, they should not mislead the nation.

One more thing, the ruling party should remember that the people elected them to serve a five-year term. By dissolving the National Assembly ahead of its term, for their immediate electoral gain and not for the overall national good, they are essentially defaulting on their mandate to serve the people for five complete years. And that is a terrible precedent.

 

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  1. Dasho, did you talk this matter with DPT government and ECB?

    Yes, DPT must complete full 5 years term and then should think about what is next.

    I believe in Dasho that other parties should be given enough time to introduce their members and carry on enough familiarization campaigning.

    We want government who can put her own words into practice. We want government who can spend more for the benefit of general public than its own. We want government who is more practical than philosophical etc…

    People should get enough time to make decision whom to vote and who shall help them and the government, ultimately. We were indeed left with least choice in 2008. This we expect to select best of the best MPs in Bhutan so that country in general will grow up rather than falling in many important developmental areas.

    ECB must give enough time to all parties to interact enough with people of the respective constituencies. I urge ECB to with this matter. ECB’s decision whether to have early election or not will make a huge difference. No monsoon is going to affect election.

  2. What a cheap politic!!!! Here, government’s intention is good. Let us be realistic, in monsoon most of the roads towards east and central bhutan gets blocked due to landslide. And, please don’t underestimate the intelligence and maturity of our voters. U do any campaign, ultimately people know whom to vote.
    If your argument is true, then, PDP should have won in 2008 as PDP did their campaign more than 1 year before DPT.
    For a while, forget politics and let us find some appropriate solution. U either prepone or postpone i ve no problem but monsoon is certainly not right time for voting. Please whether u just want to win election or u want more turnaround so that nation as a whole will be success!

  3. Ya, I agree with the above comment. If DPT is to win by calling early elections, then PDP should have won in 2008 because they did the campaigning and familiarization much earlier than DPT. I think PDP is already conceeding the defeat. Whether elections are called early or late, there is no fact that one party will. The best party wins anyway in a democratic setting. If His Majesty accepts the recommendations, so be it.

  4. After 79 days, to be precise, the OL has still not learned anything it seems, he is still putting his foot in his mouth.

    Now for heavens sake, please don’t come up with this argument that a little more time for campaigning would make a hell of a lot of difference to the outcome of the elections, even as I sit here, I can safely say that the majority of our citizens have already made up their minds as to which party they would be voting for and the elections being held one month earlier is not going to change that.

    If the OL himself believes that the monsoons are not going to inconvenience our people in the east and other landslide prone areas, it just proves that he is not in touch with the realities our common folks face during the rainy season.

  5. TO TSONG,DRUKPA AND GUARDIAN.how can u say that Government’s intention is good? what a cheap thinking.

    Local government election was held during the monsoon season.During that time,government did not say anything but now government is complaining and giving such cheap reasons to have early election for their own benefits.we do not know what is the real reason behind the so called monsoon season and 11th five years plan.

    Guys,winning and loosing is a part of game.In 2008 even DPT got enough time for familiarization tours and campaigning.there are many people who does not know about the new political parties,their ideologies etc..therefore, these political parties should get enough time to put everything on placed.

    lastly,while writing about the national interest keep the regional interest aside.For an example while talking about the monsoon,u guys mentioned only the eastern part of bhutan. why only east? why not southern and western part of bhutan? Is this mean that there is no monsoon season in west and south.

  6. Yes OL could be RIGHT and WRONG. Right because DPT had been carrying out informal campaign on the pretext of constituency visit for evaluation of development activities. They already had the edge in influencing the government. (five year plan reason is absolutely absurd. Wrong because it could lead to some inconvenience for public(not ECB)and may impact on voter turnout. Moreover OL is wrong because there is no complaint from other parties who are supposedly more at disadvantage than PDP. If they are comfortable, how justifiable is it for OL to cry foul play?

  7. phala,

    Forget about politics and be realistic!!! For that same reason the voter turnout for local election was much less than 2008 national election. So, u still think monsoon is the good time despite such experience? More than anything, our voters knows better than what u and me presume and, i have no doubt they will vote for the right candidate and party irrespective of whether u campaign for 6 months or 5 years.
    As of campaigning, there is a rationale for having clause in Constitution (article 19) that interim government headed by chief justice shall govern not more than “ninety days”. This indicates, 3 months is more than sufficient to campaign. i hope new candidates are not coming from Mars or from other planets that will require lots of time to campaign. Meanwhile, ECB has already give go ahead notice to introduce ur candidates and party. So, please don’t be so cynical on every issue. My opinion is, i don’t mind whether government is dissolved early or extended but monsoon is not right time. And this time, we are talking about travelling two times to vote i.e. primary and general round. Fortunately, NC election will be before May.

    As of regionalism, i am not talking about development or budget allocation, i am rather talking about practical problems. Have u ever hear road towards HAA, Paro, Wangdue, Punakha, Phuentsholing or Samtse getting blocked in monsoon???? Even if so, it hardly takes half a day to clear it. But when it is central (between Trongsa and gelephu) or east (between bumthang and mongar, between s jongkhar and trashigang etc) it is more frequent and takes more time to clear. i personally got stranded many times while i travel to east. So, talk realistic and come down to the real world and think about alternative solution instead of politicising everything under the sun!

    If government continue their full time, i am 100% sure u would said that government is very greedy and power hungry that they are not thinking about welfare and general interest of public.

  8. The government’s main excuse for forcing early elections – that, otherwise, the monsoons would interfere with the elections – is nonsense. That’s for ECB to decide, not the government. And the ECB has not even hinted that the monsoons could compromise their ability to conduct this year’s elections.

    The OL has expressed imbalance of logic in the above statement, plainly visible to every one holding some sense. I feel comfortable and agree with government’s reasoning. That said, I am not expressing solidarity with the government but revealing my own conscience that agrees with given reason.

  9. It is a fact or inevitable that DPT have a comparative advantage from the rest of the parties as they have been visible for the past 5 years. And the parties must accept that.

    Hon’ble opposition leader you had enough time to scramble for your candidates and you cannot make your party’s procrastination an excuse.

    Does it not serve the interest of the people when it comes to implementation of the 11FYP. The lesson learned in this government is that 4 years is not enough to implement which directly benefits the people. The only interest I see is this blog is your interest in the survival of the party.

    I don’t know if this is to pretentious to say but unless DPT has done something really drastic and nos show that the country has not benefited or that poverty has increased… I don’t think the other parties have a chance to win but they can be a good opposition. (looking at the trends of other democracies)

    My advice try to get your votes by saying you will be the better choice to be a stronger opposition.

  10. Hi Phala,
    If your conscience is clear, the local elections were conducted in June. And now we are saying that this year’s elections should also be finished before July which is usually the heaviest rainy month. furthermore, the new political parties have already begun their introductory activities and there is enough time for the people to get acquainted with them. So, there is no reason for OL to be concerned about PDP because it is the oldest political party. The logic is that if the government is dissolved earlier, the parties can start their campaigns earlier and if the government is dissolved later, the campaigns will also start at later time. The ECB will give same duration for campaigning. The five year plan must not be affected and people must not suffer in the monsoon just for the sake of one man’s notion.

  11. I don’t know who is talking cheap but other parties argument don’t circle around benefits of people. It revolve around their fear to lose.

    Whatever may be the decision, I can’t walk in rain and stay in rain to vote and i will not encourage my families to do so too.

    I am confused too because I didn’t remember ECB owning MET Department

  12. Drukpa kinley says:

    ECB has no legal authority to dissolve government, so ECB’s role in early dissolution of government is naught. The government can not continue more than exact 5 years so the chance of postponement of elctions after monsoon season is naught. The low turn out in LG elections clearly indicates inconveniences caused by inclement season and weather has direct bearing on the electorate. Therefore those who support democarcy i.e. maximum possible participation should support early dissolution and not be partisan when it comes to convinieces of the electrotate.
    Coming to the point of the new parties, why did they take such long time to form the parties. It could have been done about a year back. The DNT who was the first to express interest of forming a part was the last to apply for registration with ECB. If today the new parties are incovenienced, it is their own creation and miscalculation. I wish they had started the process earlier.

  13. OL,
    With this argument, you are only questioning the legitimacy of your seat in the Parliament. If you didn’t have a party organisation as required by the electoral laws, you did not represent any one but yourself and your few influential supporters. You had five long years to get ready this time round and yet you are now less prepared for the elections than in 2008. Stop complaining and start working now – otherwise you will not get past the first post!!!

  14. tsong

    I am realistic n much more realistic than you.I am speaking as an apolitical common man and not as a member or supporter of a political party.i hope u r also speaking as an apolitical person and not as a member/supporter of a political party.but by going through your comments i have a serious doubt whether you r speaking as a responsible citizen or speaking as a member/supporter of a political party.

    yes,voter turn out for LGE was much less compare to 2008 national election.but at the same time u should also keep in mind that monsoon season is just a minor factor responsible for decreasing in voters turn out during LGE. reelection for vacant posts of LGE were held in the month of September and some in October also.during that time voters turn out was much less than the LGE held in june. IS that because of monsoon season?

    Never quote the Constitution when ever you like by interpreting it in your own ways.even i can quote the constitution.Article 23,section 3 of the constitution says that it is the responsibility of ECB to decide election schedule.therefore,in my opinion govt is trying to take away the responsibility of the ECB.

    ECB gave permission to new political parties 2 go ahead with familiarization tours.if election is on July they will get more time to prepare and if election is on june they will get less time 2 prepare for it.on the other hand govt is ready for election.they r ready even if election is on next week.that is because together with the constituency visit they did campaigning.

    you may be right when u said that compare 2 western n southern parts,eastern n central parts took more time 2 clear the landslides n road blocks during monsoon season.but i here u r just giving such lame answer while m questioning you.i think n m very sure here ur main intention is 2 create an impression on the mind of readers that OL does not like/care the central and eastern parts.

    lastly if the legitimate govt elected by our
    people completes full term.why shd i say dat govt is greedy n power hungry.after all dey r elected 2 serve 4 5 years.so,do u really think dat i ll say govt is greedy n power hungry? the answer is a big no n that stupid
    thing u mentioned ws just ur cheap n narrow thought dear.

  15. Guies, looking at all your comments, it seems to me that while looking at the reasons for pre-poning or post-poning, what ever be the case; we are missing out on the bigger picture. The bigger being, we as responsible citizens, irrespective of which party we voted for back in 2008, we need to be analytical on what we as a democratic nation have achieved and missed out on. Well, I do not intend to be negatively critical about the govt, after all they atleast left us with an average impression of themselves. However, admittedly, there were times where it seemed as though our nation seemed to be in a thicker soup than we were once during the 2003 wartime era, on our borders. That being the rupee crisis. the rupee crunch came out at once, and the war issue had been long known to nearly every bhuatnese over a long period of time that we took the war seriously as ought to be and the rupee crisis not as seriously as it ought to be.

    Any way, part of the reason I am mentioning this here is because, I want to use a simple analogy. The analogy being in form of two questions. First question, why were we the bhutanese right to take the war very seriously as a major threat to our national security? ans is simple, It is all about timing for humans, we were aware of the situation we were in over a long period of time; a universal fact is, the more time we get to know about something , the more we know of something and the more we are convinced. Similarly, just for the purpose of making the point clearer, why does a reasonable girl always want to know a guy better before they get into relationship, even though it is clear to her she likes him. it is for the same reason as I mentioned above( the more u know, the more u r convinced). second question, despite rupee crisis being the economic equivalent problem to the the security issue, why was it not treated as seriously as it ought to have been taken? the ans is easy, although some ignorants might say its because an overwhelming majority of the people are illeterate and did not know so much about it, the main reason is because we did not know it as well as we had been familiarised with the war issue. Illeterate people have also brains, they were not told of, instead the govt blamed them.

    Any way, coming to the main point, you guies are saying dpt is right to pre- poning the election (based on lame immature excuses)and claim 3months is enough time for parties to get themselves familiarized. This under normal circumstances is not fair because other parties ought to get some more time than that, merely because of the fact that they are new. We as voters too, need time to analyze and digest what they say rather than simply swallowing without chewing. just as i mentioned incourse of my prior analogical points. Time is a fundamental tool for politicians as much as training time is for footballers. For themselves, the Government might not even require 3 months, they have finished campaigning already, what is unfinished is also being completed by the pm with his very rare visits to areas which have been uncharted for most of the time in his 5 year tenure. They are obviously making this move(pre-poning) because it is in their favor and any one who denies this fact has to be either stupid or an ignorant dpt supporter.

    For the other parties, and in reality, Forget about three months being enough time; it virtually appears that we could not vote for the better party in 2008, and that was after a year long of campaigning. I hope not to make the same mistake again. More over, if the govt really thinks monsoon would distract( immature though)and be hazardous to travel to respective constituencies, Mps had to visit their constituencies every now and then during their tenure, why did they not raise such issues back then, why now, because it is in their interest NOW, their interest back then was to literally go shopping in the name of preaching GNH.

  16. to drukpa, even if dnt or which eva the party, came into existence much earlier, there was simply no logic or scope. Forget about the new ones, even pep and particularly the opposition leader was challenged from going on visits such as the one the pm himself is doing now. there is a here too, the oppositions visit was during a time when people needed leaders who could listen to their NEEDS, whereas, the pm’s visit now is in a time when they need people to listen to their WANTS.

  17. I wonder why nobody thought about it five or six years ago when they first adopted it.

    Can’t it be moved to the month of March or April?

    This would solve the problem altogether.

  18. “I am speaking as an apolitical common man and not as a member or supporter of a political party.”
    It is immaterial whether i speak as apolitical or political supporter but one’s argument has to be based on certain logic and sound reasoning. One way or other we have supported either DPT or PDP in 2008 and it is bullshit to claim one is so called “apolitical”. No one is apolitical and that is the fact. I would rather appreciate if you are arguing as pdp supporter because your reasoning and argument doesn’t make any sense. There is no guarantee for DPT’s victory whether election is held early or late. Our voters are not fools and please don’t concede defeat before even fighting election!

    “monsoon season is just a minor factor responsible for decreasing in voters turn out during LGE…..?”
    Looks like u have never crossed Thimphu especially in monsoon season. So, no point explaining and arguing with you about how inconvenient it is to travel in monsoon. My advice is, just travel to east and central Bhutan during this monsoon and i assure you, you will know how stupid you have been all the way.

    “Never quote the Constitution when ever you like by interpreting it in your own ways.even i can quote the constitution.Article 23,section 3 of the constitution says that it is the responsibility of ECB to decide election schedule.therefore,in my opinion govt is trying to take away the responsibility of the ECB.”
    Looks like you forgot the topic we are discussing. Nobody is arguing about the responsibility of scheduling election, rather, it is all about making convenient and conducive environment for the general public to vote. Somebody already pointed out that ECB has no authority to dissolve government even if ECB wishes to do so. The present MP will be losing one month salary for the interest of public by early dissolution of government.
    Yyou are saying there is no logic in having specific clause in the constitution that interim government should not govern more than “90 days”? I thought, it means 3 months is more than enough to campaign to elect any new government. Let me know if you ve other interpretations. For that same reason, even ECB is allowing only 3 months for official campaign.

    “if election is on July they will get more time to prepare and if election is on june they will get less time 2 prepare for it.on the other hand govt is ready for election.they r ready even if election is on next week.that is because together with the constituency visit they did campaigning.”
    Common!!! What is there to prepare??? They got registered and they have already started introducing candidates and party. Other parties had 5 years to prepare and plan while present government was busy with development works and other day to day works

    “you may be right when u said that compare 2 western n southern parts,eastern n central parts took more time 2 clear the landslides n road blocks during monsoon season.but i here u r just giving such lame answer while m questioning you.i think n m very sure here ur main intention is 2 create an impression on the mind of readers that OL does not like/care the central and eastern parts.”
    Haha! What a shitty interpretation! I am talking about practical problems!!!

    “lastly if the legitimate govt elected by our
    people completes full term.why shd i say dat govt is greedy n power hungry.after all dey r elected 2 serve 4 5 years.so,do u really think dat i ll say govt is greedy n power hungry? the answer is a big no n that stupid
    thing u mentioned ws just ur cheap n narrow thought dear.”
    I don’t know who is cheap or expensive but i am sure there is a reason for having specific article in constitution regarding “early dissolving government”. One of the reasons for having such clause must have been intended for applying for this kind of situations.

    Finally, we live in democratic country and we have right to our personal opinion and let us agree to disagree.

  19. You all keep mentioning about the monsoon, for me personally, If other parties are given adequate time for campaigning be it at the cost of facing some difficulties in travelling, I am happy. I agree there will be some challenges, but that is too small and lame an excuse when it confronts for the need of parties to campaign well enough. More over, it isnt fair at all by DPT, to even bring forward such an issue because its simply a childlike behavior, mean and cruel. they have every thing set forthemselves already, and when it concerns some others, believe me, they are the last to help.

    The only reason why DPT is doing so is because it is in their favor, they are 50 percent done with their campaigning and intend to do the rest in this 3 proposed months. You cannot deny the fact that the pm travelling to the east in a time very close to elections is nearly equivalent to one of campaigning, because when the opposition travelled like him, the pm strongly opposed whether or not the same was intended by the opposition. But one thing is clear, by opposing the opposition, it is clear that the pm sees constituency visits as only for the purpose of campaigning. He has made that clear to us. if not, we never know, the opposition might have went with some genuine concerns to show to his people, more over that period was somewhere back before these recent election closing dates….

  20. tsong

    your arguments are based on illogical and unsound reasoning.u have 2 know that all the people are not like you.it does not mean that when you support a party,others r also doing same.it seems that you don’t know the meaning of apolitical. some times you are quoting the constitution as if u r an eminent lawyer but some times u r talking like an illiterate.the word apolitical is quoted in article 25 of constitution.please go trough it.no political party is guaranteed for victory.that is right but one party should not have undue advantage over other parties.

    yes monsoon season was just a minor factor responsible for decreasing in voters turn during LGE. you dont have 2 tell whether i crossed thimphu or not;that is none of your business;but u din’t answer my question which i asked you.you r telling that since LGE was held on june,the voter turn out for LGE was less than the nation election of 2008.my question here 2 u is re-election for
    vacant posts of LGE were held on the month of September N some in October also.during that election voters turn out was much less than that of LGE held in june. is that because of monsoon season??? even i am from eastern part of bhutan and many times i travel 2 east in monsoon season;i also know the problems but the national interest should come above all this problems.

    It is the duty of ECB to make convenient and
    conducive environment for the public 2 vote.so its none of the business of govt n nor yours.under the constitution govt can dissolve but it does not mean that they can dissolve when they like and they can dissolve and go for election when it favors them.

    Do you really think that present NA MPs will loose one month salary for the interest of public by having early election?? you will know whether they ll loose 1 month salary for public interest or they will get 1 month salary without work when they amend Parliamentary entitlement act.

    Never under estimates the work of others.new parties need more time to prepare as they are new.where as DPT already campaigned
    during there MPs visit to constituency.even the PM finished campaigning in most of the districts.during last 4 years when ever i heard a news about our PM i always heard that
    PM IS ON foreign trips talking about GNH;but now when the election is near he is visiting districts.so obviously PM doing campaigned.other wise he should have visited during last 4 years.so other parties also need the same amount of time like govt.

    its not a shitty interpretation but i am telling the truth which you want 2 create on mind of others by telling that thing.even if u r talking practical problem. don’t talk the problems you have faced;think about the problems faced by others too.

    yes,there is specific article in constitution regarding dissolution of govt but that clause is not intended to apply for this kind of cheap n selfish situation as you think.it is intended to apply for the situations when wider interest of the general public and nation is seriously affected or in question.

    i know that we live in a democratic country and i also know that we have a right 2 personal opinion.anyways thanks 4 that.

  21. Phala

    AGREED TO DISAGREE!!! we are right in our own way and the only difference is, your views are more of theoretical which of course if followed will be very ideal. Yes, i know about so called apolitical but it is almost impossible to be apolitical practically. We humans are political animals by birth. For instance,as far as i know, almost all local government representatives(supposed to be elected apolitically) were elected in political line. U just ask those elected gups, magmis, and tshogpas and they will tell u how they got elected.
    That is why, in most countries, upper house members and LG members are not apolitical. While the intention to have apolitical civil servants, LG & NC members is good, it is very very difficult to be apolitical in reality.

  22. I can only say that the poor brain of OL has been reduced to interpreting everything negative and he has now made himself a pessimist and loser forever.

  23. mr.tsong

    Everything is difficult to follow in practical.even democracy itself is very difficult to follow in practical.Democracy is the best form of government but at the same time it is also a form of government which is very difficult to set up;in other words its formation is very difficult.same like that apolitical is also very difficult to follow in practical but however difficult it is to follow in practical,those people like civil servants etc should always follow it.In my opinion those people whom the constitution requires them to be apolitical and in case if they don’t remain apolitical, that means they don’t have faith in constitution or they don’t understand the provisions of the
    constitution.

    Now govt. is saying that they are not going for early dissolution;again govt gave lame excuses for that.Here the real truth is that actually govt wants to go for early dissolution by amending the parliamentary entitlement act;which means they dissolve early and go for election without affecting to the salaries n perks of its MPs[NA MPs].Now since they cant amend PEA,they are going to complete the full term.if the govt really thinks that early dissolution is for greater national interest they should be able to sacrifice salary of 1 month.

    lastly,mr.tsong i feel pity on you as you have to travel to your constituency during the monsoon season for voting as govt is not willing to sacrifice 1 month salary for the greater nation interest.i hope this time when you go to you constituency,monsoon will not cause any difficulties to you. let me give one free advice to you;why don’t you send a poster ballot if you really think that monsoon season will cause difficulties to you.i think that’s the best solution as our govt. which you always have faith and which you always agreed in whatever they say is not looking for the problem face by you during the monsoon season

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