Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Political Decorum of Parliament of Bhutan.

There seems to arise an air of surrealism  when Parliamentarian speakers express their gratitude to the King for attending the concluding or inaugural session of Parliament, " sparing time to attend in royal person despite all other very important royal engagements ". As if Parliament can happen without the King.

It sounds like the mother expressing gratitude to the father of the baby for attending the delivery session. "Patronising " would be the kindest word.

And in the case of Parliament, the baby " resolutions" are meaningless without the King being part of the Session. The King does not usually attend in person the actual Parliament discussion session. My understanding  is that His Majesty should remain above politics and therefore, should not be part of political exchanges that rule the roost during the Parliament working session.  However,  that does not mean that the King is  officially unaware of discussions/ exchanges during the Sessions. His Majesty would be apprised of all happenings through established procedures/ channels.  Afterall,  the democratic system maybe only 8 years old but the functioning system of the epic National Body that encompasses dually elected Representatives of the People and Representatives of Administration and which serves under the grace and blessings of the King is 65 years old ( since 1952 ).

Under the Constitution of Bhutan, His Majesty the King is part of the Parliament.  Therefore, the attendance in Royal Person during  the Parliament Session  at inaugural ceremony , at the closing ceremony  or even during actual working session if deemed necessary by His Majesty is constitutional requirement. Not an act of kindness or favour by invitation but a fulfillment of constitutional responsibility. His Majesty is not a Chief Guest who leaves aside other tasks to oblige an invitation to be the Guest of Honour at a function. With out the presence of the King, constitutionally,  Parliament cannot happen. Parliament of Bhutan has three constituents: The King, the National Council and the National Assembly. 

The Speaker would be submitting the schedules of the respective Parliament Session to His Majesty the King for royal assent. And thereafter, it would be unthinkable that the Session would begin or close without the Royal Presence.  So instead of thanking the King as if like a Chief Guest at a Function for attending the occassion, it would be protocolly correct to seek the royal blessings at the beginning and express gratitude at the conclusion for the  blessings and guidance. 

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