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Bhutan to act tough on 'misbehaving' MPs

world Updated: Jan 13, 2008 10:02 IST

With elections to Bhutan's lower house still to be held, the Himalayan country has already issued a stern warning to its MPs-to-be, saying those found guilty of misbehaving when the National Assembly is in session will be dealt strictly with.

"Violators would be reprimanded, or sent out from the remaining or entire session of the day's business, depending on the seriousness of the violation," said National Assembly secretary Nima Tshering.

"Deliberations are expected to be intense, but we also expect MPs to be more sensible and respect the solemnity of the throne," he said.

But he hoped that the very fact that Bhutan will have qualified and experienced MPs will discourage what is unacceptable.

Bhutan's draft constitution says any citizen willing to contest the country's polls must possess a formal university degree.

On the other hand, the National Assembly hall will not see its members sit face to face.

"Seating MPs face to face gives an air of aggressiveness. Therefore, to ensure harmony and discourage animosity during Assembly meetings, opposition and ruling party MPs will be seated on either side of the Speaker without much partition and many empty spaces between them," said Tshering in a statement.

The Thimphu National Assembly hall, which is being upgraded to what officials call a "modern parliament", will have an inverted C-shaped seating arrangement like in the past, but they will be raised by about six inches from the front row.