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Bhutan PM to work for economic progress

The new Premier, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, has pledged to usher in a new era of economic prosperity in the Himalayan kingdom.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2006 17:13 IST

The new Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, has pledged to usher in a new era of economic prosperity in the Himalayan kingdom.

"People should ensure that we have a strong, capable and honest government that is deeply committed to carry out its responsibilities," he said after taking over the reins of the Bhutanese government.

"We must bear in mind that if we go wrong, all that His Majesty has built with selfless and dedicated work could be ruined in a short time," the prime minister said, promising to strengthen the sovereignty and security of the country.

Wangchuk was handed over the prime ministership at a function in Thimphu this week.

Wangchuk was earlier foreign minister of Bhutan and had been prime minister in 2001 for a year.

Bhutan gets a new prime minister every year and is chosen from among the council of ministers by the king.

Outgoing Prime Minister Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup said his successor has been appointed at a time when Bhutan is set for the first general elections. In 2008, Bhutan will shift from monarchy to parliamentary democracy.

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in December made a landmark decision to abdicate the throne in favour of his eldest son, Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, 25, before Bhutan adopts a constitution in 2008.

"This is a sacred responsibility to the nation that you must shoulder with utmost loyalty and dedication," the king told the Crown Prince at the function held to welcome the new prime minister.

"We repose our full faith and trust in you to serve the people and country better than myself and all the kings who have come before you."

The king called upon the prime minister to discharge his duties more responsibly with the general elections round the corner.

"There were many important tasks to be carried out by him and the government during his tenure, including preparations for the historic events in 2008," the king said.

First Published: Sep 10, 2006 17:13 IST