Should Parliament make the Prime Minister GNH Ambassador for Life?
The proposal to make the Prime Minister GNH Ambassador for Life was tabled by the Speaker. But it was not discussed in the National Assembly. Yet, the proposal was forwarded to the National Council. And it was almost included in the Assembly’s resolutions as a proposal that had, more or less, been accepted. The Speaker also made indirect reference to the proposal in his address during this session’s closing ceremony.
So should Parliament make the Prime Minister GNH Ambassador for Life? No. First, the Parliament did not follow due process. Second, no one knows what “GNH Ambassador for Life” entails – what it means, and how much it will cost. Third, the nominee is a serving member of the Parliament – such titles should be reserved for past members only, if at all, and only after they’ve proven themselves. Fourth, the nominee is currently under investigation for the Gyelpozhing land scam case. And Fifth, it is outside the scope of the Parliament’s authority.
That authority, to appoint a GNH ambassador for life, belongs to His Majesty the King. According to Article 2, Section 16(a) of the Constitution: “The Druk Gyalpo, in exercise of His Royal Prerogatives, may: award titles, decorations, dar for Lhengye and Nyi-Kyelma in accordance with tradition and custom.”
Lyopno Khandu Wangchuk, the economic affairs minister, however, claimed, the Assembly, that a broader, more liberal interpretation of the Constitution would allow the Parliament to bestow that title to the PM.
I’m not sure. The government has consistently called for a broader, liberal interpretation of the Constitution. And the opposition party has consistently maintained that doing so would be dangerous, especially if those doing the “broad, liberal interpreting” are the very ones who stand to benefit.
Take Article 2, Section 16(a) of the Constitution, for instance. If a liberal interpretation of this provision is taken to mean that other institutions can also, in addition to His Majesty, grant titles and decorations, imagine how the subsequent provisions could be interpreted.
Article 2, Section 16(b) states that: “The Druk Gyalpo, in exercise of His Royal Prerogatives, may: grant citizenship, land kidu and other kidus”.
And Article 2, Section 16(c) states that: “The Druk Gyalpo, in exercise of His Royal Prerogatives, may: grant amnesty, pardon and reduction of sentences.”
Several commentators took exception to my last post, Rule of the mob. Think again. What is preferable? Rule of the mob? Or rule of the law?