Jigme Thinley

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Jigme Thinley
Jigme Thinley (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of Bhutan
In office
9 April 2008 – 28 April 2013
MonarchJigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Preceded byKinzang Dorji
Succeeded bySonam Tobgye (as Chief Advisor)
In office
30 August 2003 – 18 August 2004
MonarchJigme Singye Wangchuck
Preceded byKhandu Wangchuk
Succeeded byYeshey Zimba
In office
20 July 1998 – 9 July 1999
MonarchJigme Singye Wangchuck
Preceded byJigme Palden Dorji
Succeeded bySangay Ngedup
Personal details
Born (1952-09-09) 9 September 1952 (age 70)
Bumthang, Bhutan
Political partyIndependent (Before 2007)
Peace and Prosperity Party (2007–present)
SpouseAum Rinsy Dem[citation needed]
Alma materPennsylvania State University, St. Stephen's College, Delhi

Lyonpo Jigme Yoser Thinley (Dzongkha: འཇིགས་མེད་འོད་ཟེར་འཕྲིན་ལས་; Wylie: 'Jigs-med 'Od-zer 'Phrin-las) (born 9 September 1952)[1] is a Bhutanese politician who was Prime Minister of Bhutan from 20 July 1998 to 9 July 1999, 30 August 2003 to 18 August 2004 and 9 April 2008 to 28 April 2013.[1][2]


Thinley was born in Bumthang and joined the civil service in 1976[3] upon receiving a graduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University.[4] He received an undergraduate degree from St. Stephen's College, Delhi.[5] In February 1987, Thinley was awarded the title of Dasho and the Red Scarf, and in 1990, under the zonal system, he became administrator of the Eastern Zone. He then became secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1992 before being appointed as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs in January 1994, at which time he was also awarded the Orange Scarf. Later in 1994, he was appointed as Bhutan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations office and other international organizations in Geneva.[1]

Prior to the beginning of Bhutanese democracy, he was Prime Minister twice, from 20 July 1998, to 9 July 1999, and from 30 August 2003, to 20 August 2004. During this period, chairmanship of the council was based on rotation once per year, with the order of rotation decided by the number of votes secured during the time of election to the council. Jigme was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan from 1998 until 2003 and subsequently served as Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs.

On 2 June 1999, Thinley was awarded the Druk Thuksey and Silver Jubilee medals.[1] On 6 November 2008, Thinley was awarded the Coronation medal. On 17 December 2008, Thinley was awarded the Druk Wangyal medal – one of the highest medals of honor – for excellence in carrying out his duties.[6]

In March 2008, he stood as leader of the political party Druk Phuensum Tshogpa in Bhutan's first democratic election. His party won 45 of the 47 seats in the National Assembly of Bhutan, which enabled Jigme Thinley to become Bhutan's first ever elected Prime Minister. He took office on 9 April.[1][2]

Thinley blamed the global economic crisis of 2008–2009 on "insatiable human greed" and stressed the need to instead focus on the Bhutanese notion of gross national happiness. His government works to base its policies on gross national happiness rather than purely economic considerations.[7]

In July 2009, Thinley became a member of the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation's International Advisory Board to contribute his experience to the organisation's poverty reduction and sustainable development work.[8]

He received an honorary doctorate from KIIT University in 2012, other recipients at the ceremony were eminent economist, Baidyanath Misra, and Ghulam Farooq Wardak, the then Education Minister of Afghanistan.[9]

On 3 February 2014, Thinley received an honorary degree from the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) in Belgium[10] along with Lawrence Lessig and Denis Mukwege.

His son Palden married Princess Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck on 11 November 2008.

His wife Aum Rinsy Dem died in Bangkok on 28 November 2018.[11]



  1. ^ a b c d e Wangchuk, Rinzin (12 April 2008). "New PM Takes Office". Kuensel online. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Thinley Takes Over as Premier". The Hindu. 11 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Faculty, alumnus honored – Penn State University". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Famous Penn Staters – Living/Now Deceased". Penn State Alumni Association. 29 January 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  5. ^ "World Leaders Forum".
  6. ^ "Six Honoured for Service to Nation". Kuensel online. 20 December 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  7. ^ Mydans, Seth (7 May 2009). "Thumphu Journal: Recalculating Happiness in a Himalayan Kingdom". New York Times. p. A8.
  8. ^ "SNV establishes International Advisory Board". SNV – Netherlands Development Organisation. 8 July 2009. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  9. ^ "8th Annual Convocation". 9 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Fête de l'université 2014 – Doctorats honoris causa". UCL – Université catholique de Louvain. 3 February 2014. Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  11. ^ Twitter

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Bhutan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Bhutan
Succeeded by
Prime Minister of Bhutan
Succeeded by
Sonam Tobgye
as Chief Advisor
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Chairperson of SAARC
Succeeded by