Thimphu, Jul 30: Bhutan faces many challenges, including rupee shortage and national loans, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has said as he asked the new government to address the key issues while strengthening democracy.
“I hope that you will serve the people with sincerity and humility in the next five years,” the King said while felicitating Bhutan's new Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, his Cabinet and parliamentarians.
The People's Democratic Party (PDP) won a landslide victory in Bhutan's second national elections earlier this month. The PDP has defeated ruling Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) by winning 32 seats out of the 47 in the National Assembly. The King said the 11th Year Plan, rupee shortage, and national loans were the challenges that the new government had to work through.
Additionally, there was a lot of work to be done to improve education, employment, housing, rural-urban migration, and equitable progress for all, and to curb corruption from the very start, he added.
The new government will have to resolve the issue of Indian Rupee crunch which has hit the Himalayan country's business community hard and credit restriction imposed by the Royal Monetary Authority which have severely affected the people.
Largest circulated Bhutanese daily ‘Kuensel' had recently said that one of the first things, the new government will have to undertake is mobilise funds for the 11th Plan. The King also reminded the new parliamentarians of their responsibility to strengthen democracy and set the right precedence.
In his address, the King reminded the people that differences are bound to arise during election campaigns, and it was important for everyone to look ahead and remain united as Bhutanese.
He also said Bhutan has gained tremendous experience in the five years as a democracy, and stressed on the importance of working to strengthen the democratic process. “It has been said many times that democracy in Bhutan is a gift from the Throne to the people. I would like to clarify today that it is not a gift but rather the responsibility given to the people to further strengthen the future of country,” the King said.
He said democracy was established with the goal of strengthening the rule of law, which would lead to good governance and a fair and transparent system, allowing us to achieve our national aspirations.
The ultimate goal of democracy has always been the continued peace, prosperity and wellbeing of the people, he added.
The King said Bhutan should not set the precedence of allowing a democracy where party supporters are favoured and given special opportunities by the winning party- something party supporters often expect in return for their support. “We must be able to hand over a proud democracy, free of nepotism to our future generations,” he said. He told the PDP that they now had a precious opportunity to prove that a system without corrupt practices and divisions can exist.
Besides, the King reminded the ruling party of the vital importance of keeping true to every promise that they had made during the campaign in a new democracy where precedents were still being set.
“I hope that you will serve the people with sincerity and humility in the next five years,” he said.
“The government will have the full support of the King and the people in your service to the nation. However, it is also the responsibility of the King and people to provide constructive criticism to the government whenever it falters,” the King said.