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Thinley takes over as Bhutan Premier

Thimphu: Jigmi Y Thinley, who has had close ties with India, has taken over as Bhutan’s first elected Prime Minister, a post he held twice under the monarchy.

Mr. Thinley, 56, assumed office on Wednesday after receiving the ceremonial scarf from King Jigme Khesar Namgyal, 16 days after his party — the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) — emerged victorious in the country’s maiden elections, winning all but two of the 47 seats.

On India’s insistence, Bhutan had evicted northeast rebels hiding on its territory through a military operation in 2003. Mr. Thinley played a major role in that operation — nearly 15 rebel camps were destroyed. Mr. Thinley’s 10 Cabinet colleagues will assume office on Friday after receiving their scarves from the King.

“Jigmi Y Thinley received the ‘Dakyen’ (ceremonial scarf) from the Majesty yesterday,” DPT spokesman Palden Tshering told PTI.

“After offering some prayers, he was escorted in a procession to the Prime Minister’s office, where he was received by the outgoing premier Kinzang Dorji and other senior government officials,” Tshering said.

The ministers will be received in their respective office on Friday, he said.

Ugyen Tshering, a former Foreign Secretary and a Minister under the monarch, will be the Foreign Affairs Minister. Yeshey Zimba, who had served two terms as Prime Minister, is the Minister for Works and Human Settlement.

While Wangdi Norbu has been given the Finance portfolio, Zangley Dukpa will be the health minister.

The other Ministers are Khandu Wangchuk (Economic Affairs), Minjur Dorji (Home and Cultural Affairs), Thakur Singh Powdyel (Education), Pema Gyamtsho (Agriculture), Nandalal Rai (Information and Communications) and Dorji Wangdi (Labour and Human Resources). Jigme Tshultim has been nominated as National Assembly Speaker and Yangkhu Tshering Sherpa his deputy. — PTI

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