The last session!

Many people seem to be enthusiastically and anxiously waiting for what would transpire during the 10th session of the Parliament- the last session of the elected government- scheduled to take off on February 8.

In the 15 days of deliberations and lawmaking, one thing is definite that no new bills will be introduced in this session. So instead, Members of the Parliament (MPs) of the two houses will deliberate on pending bills and issues that spilled over from the 9th session.

The assembly will look up into the dispute resolution bill and contract bill; the council will deliberate on domestic violence prevention bill and road bill, while disaster management bill and national flag bill could be up for discussion in a joint sitting.

Further, the last session will perhaps be the longest Parliament session ever given a number of national holidays and weekends, and with the session scheduled to conclude on March 6.

Indubitably, the last session, some political enthusiasts say, is significant in numerous other aspects as well. Firstly, it is the last Parliament session of the first elected government, keeping in with the spirit of the Constitution of Bhutan.

National Assembly Building in Thimphu
National Assembly Building in Thimphu

The other most probable and interesting speculation among political aficionados is that the date for the dissolution of the present government would be announced in a joint sitting of this session by the Prime Minister.

But it’s purported likely that the government will stay till the end of its tenure – April 20. There are apparent reasons too. Dissolving early would mean forgoing certain retirement benefits and it’s unlikely the government would do so, at least not for now.

Few opine that the last session should not be used by incumbent parties for propagandizing for the next elections. They say it will be unquestionably unfair if MPs are taking advantage to gain political mileage this time by promoting themselves for the upcoming elections.

The other key highlight of this session is the presentation of the state of the nation report to the Parliament by the Prime Minister. While doing so, some contend, it is time for the government to exhibit accountability, an integral component of democracy.

No denying; this is the time when the government should divulge information to the public – precise and in true manner about its progress and achievements during its tenure, and whether the promises made in 2008 were delivered so.

Therefore, the last Parliament session is significant in many ways than the earlier sessions. It could be described as the judgment day of this government because it will determine whether people’s expectations have been met by the government. And in essence, this will either renew and reinvigorate people’s faith, trust and reverence in democracy or lose them.