The time has now come for me to hand over my responsibilities to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck," said His Majesty in a kasho issued on December 9, the 20th day of the 10th Bhutanese month. "I am confident that a very bright future lies ahead for Bhutan with the leadership of a new King and a democratic system of government that is best suited for our country as enshrined under the Constitution. I have every confidence that there will be unprecedented progress and prosperity for our nation in the reign of our fifth King."
His Majesty explained that Bhutan could not hope for a better time for such an important transition. Today, the country enjoyed peace and stability, and its security and sovereignty was ensured. After phenomenal development and progress the country was closer than ever to the goal of economic self reliance. Bhutan's relations with its closest neighbour and friend, India, had reached new heights. International organisations and bilateral development partners were ready to support Bhutan's development efforts and political transformation.
"Such an opportunity will not come again," His Majesty said.
His Majesty also pointed out that, as parliamentary democracy was established, the country would enjoy peace and stability for several years and that would be a good period for the fifth Druk Gyalpo and the new government to gain exposure and political experience.
His Majesty said that, as long as he himself continued to be King, the Crown Prince would not gain the actual experience of dealing with issues and carrying out the responsibilities of a head of state. With parliamentary democracy to be established in 2008 there was much to be done so it was necessary that he gained this valuable experience.
Although Bhutan had achieved unprecedented development in the past 34 years, it was more important now to think of the future. His Majesty said that he had made the decision to abdicate because it was in the best interest of the nation.
His Majesty the King expressed his sincere appreciation to the ministers and senior officials with whom he had worked closely over the past 34 years. His Majesty said that he had valued their unfailing loyalty and service.
The prime minister, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, submitted to the meeting that he and the other members of the lhengye zhungtsho had been aware of His Majesty's wishes but they were at a complete loss when they actually heard the royal command and received the royal kasho.
It was not possible to list the phenomenal successes of His Majesty the King's reign that allowed Bhutan to stand proud in the comity of nations. The Bhutanese people enjoyed a better quality of life than ever before, the security and sovereignty of the country was assured, and the world admired Bhutan's enlightened policies that helped preserve its unique traditions including the pristine environment, rich culture, and principle of Gross National Happiness. There could never be a more fortunate generation of people, he said.
The home minister, Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley, said that everything that His Majesty had envisioned had become a reality although many people, including himself, had believed that some of them were not possible.
He said that they were still unable to comprehend the wisdom of such achievements that had assured the sovereignty of the nation and happiness of the people.
The minister for trade and industry, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, said that, at a time when world leaders promised power to the people but never meant it, His Majesty the King had devolved all authority to the people despite their repeated pleas against it. The people would never forget that what Bhutan is today is the achievement of His Majesty the King.
The zhung kalyon, Dasho Rinzin Gyeltshen, said that, in the past 34 years, His Majesty the King had brought the Bhutanese people from darkness into light, from the forests into civilisation, and had shown them the true path when they were lost. It was His Majesty the King who had led them to unprecedented socio-economic and political achievement and ensured the security of the country.
The chief justice, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye, expressed the deep gratitude of the Bhutanese people to His Majesty the King for giving them the identity that they were so proud of. The Bhutanese populace had been poor and down-trodden in the past but now looked into the future with confidence and pride.
Government ministers, the kalyon, the chief justice, and the speaker of the National Assembly also pledged their allegiance to His Majesty the fifth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who also attended the meeting.
The prime minister and the lhengye zhungtsho members said that the government and people of Bhutan would serve His Majesty with dedication and loyalty. The ministers expressed their full faith and confidence in their new King and their support for the period during which His Majesty would gain experience to guide the political developments in the future.
Even as the members of the lhengye zhungtsho and special invitees to His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck's last appearance in the Cabinet room submitted their sentiments and views their strongest message came in the deep quiet that hung in the air throughout the meeting. The royal heir and all members of the lhengye zhungtsho were moved to stunned silence by his final act of trust in the Bhutanese people.