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Joint Sitting Defers Framework Agreement between Bhutan and European Investment Bank

Posted on :01 July 2016

Joint Sitting deferred the ratification of the Framework Agreement (FWA) between Bhutan and European Investment Bank with 58 “Yes”, 3 “No” and 6 “abstain” votes from 67 members present for the vote today.

The National Assembly (NA) ratified the FWA during its 5th session of the 2nd Parliament and forwarded to the National Council. Extensively deliberating on the FWA during the 16th Session of the National Council, it was sent back to the NA along with the objections. The NA refused to consider the objections of the National Council which was then submitted to His Majesty the King.

Therefore, on the command of His Majesty the King the Joint Committee was convened to settle the disputed Bill.

Accordingly, the Joint Committee presented a brief report on the disagreement between the two houses on FWA between the Kingdom of Bhutan and the European Investment Bank.

The Committee reported that inspite of holding series of meeting; the Joint Committee could not come to consensus on the disputed FWA due to fundamental differences on the basic principles governing the Agreement. Therefore, the Committee recommended the Parliament for the Bill to be tabled and voted in its entirety.

Expressing his appreciation on the findings and ensuring to consider the objections raised by the National Council on the Bill, the Hon’ble Minister Damcho Dorji, Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that if the Bill in question needed to be thoroughly reviewed it need not be tabled and voted in this Session as per the recommendations of the Joint Committee. However, he proposed to defer the Bill for further review which was seconded by the Hon’ble Finance Minister.

The Joint Sitting adopted the proposal of the Minister for Foreign Affairs with the following submissions from the Joint Committee:
This act of deferment should be treated as an exceptional one time case, and not set a precedent, as provisions for such matters dealing with disputes on international agreements have neither been envisaged nor covered in the Legislative Rules of Procedural (LROP) 2011.

The two houses to discuss and incorporate measures to address such disagreements between the two houses in the amended LROP 2016.

The Royal Government develops the guiding principles and overall protocol concerning matters related to international conventions, covenants, treaties, protocols and agreements.

The Joint Sitting also adopted the recommendations on the Performance Audit Report with 49 “Yes”, 10 “No” and 9 abstain votes from 68 members present for the vote.

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