Wisdom Loving Mother

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

King of Bhutan Steps Down

A Kuensel Report 15 December, 2006

The fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, has handed over his responsibilities as the Monarch and head of state of Bhutan to the Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck who now assumes the full responsibilities of head of state as the fifth Druk Gyalpo.

"The time has now come for me to hand over my responsibilities to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck," said His Majesty in a kasho issued on December 9, the 20th day of the 10th Bhutanese month. "I am confident that a very bright future lies ahead for Bhutan with the leadership of a new King and a democratic system of government that is best suited for our country as enshrined under the Constitution. I have every confidence that there will be unprecedented progress and prosperity for our nation in the reign of our fifth King." As the transition was formally announced on December 14, the 24th day of the 10th Bhutanese month, the day was charged with emotion, and a special sitting of the Cabinet in Tashichhodzong was unable to articulate a comprehensive discussion. Cabinet members and special guests that included the chief justice, the speaker of the National Assembly, and the chief election commissioner were overcome by emotion and sat in a long and stunned silence after His Majesty the King's announcement.

With a clarity that has been consistent in the royal views, His Majesty reminded the Cabinet session that he had already announced the decision to the nation last December and repeated it many times to the lhengye zhungtsho.

His Majesty explained that Bhutan could not hope for a better time for such an important transition. Today, the country enjoyed peace and stability, and its security and sovereignty was ensured. After phenomenal development and progress the country was closer than ever to the goal of economic self reliance. Bhutan's relations with its closest neighbour and friend, India, had reached new heights. International organisations and bilateral development partners were ready to support Bhutan's development efforts and political transformation.

His Majesty said that Bhutan was extremely fortunate to have been able to face and overcome many challenges over the past 34 years, even those that many people thought were not possible. While countries around the world were suffering from political unrest and economic woes the Bhutanese leadership and people now had the opportunity to look ahead and plan for the future.

"Such an opportunity will not come again," His Majesty said.

His Majesty also pointed out that, as parliamentary democracy was established, the country would enjoy peace and stability for several years and that would be a good period for the fifth Druk Gyalpo and the new government to gain exposure and political experience.

His Majesty said that, as long as he himself continued to be King, the Crown Prince would not gain the actual experience of dealing with issues and carrying out the responsibilities of a head of state. With parliamentary democracy to be established in 2008 there was much to be done so it was necessary that he gained this valuable experience.

His Majesty said that he had mentioned to the Crown Prince that he would have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to prepare him for his responsibilities as King. His Majesty expressed his confidence that the fifth Druk Gyalpo was fully capable of carrying out his responsibilities. Judging by his performance as Crown Prince, his thinking, and his principles, His Majesty said he had no doubt that the fifth Druk Gyalpo would serve his nation with selfless dedication. His Majesty said that if the Crown Prince was not worthy, he would not have handed over his responsibilties just because the Crown Prince was his own son.

His Majesty himself had taken over the reigns of governance at the age of 16 years and he had no doubt that the fifth Druk Gyalpo, who was now 26 years old, would dedicate his service to the interests of the nation. By the time he retired at the age of 65 years he would have served for 38 years. His Majesty expressed his hope and prayer that the fifth Druk Gyalpo will achieve national objectives that were important to the country and fulfill the aspirations of the Bhutanese people.

Although Bhutan had achieved unprecedented development in the past 34 years, it was more important now to think of the future. His Majesty said that he had made the decision to abdicate because it was in the best interest of the nation.

His Majesty the King expressed his sincere appreciation to the ministers and senior officials with whom he had worked closely over the past 34 years. His Majesty said that he had valued their unfailing loyalty and service.


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