Lyonchen Jigme Yoser Thinley (Dzongkha: འཇིགས་མེད་འོད་ཟེར་འཕྲིན་ལས་; Wylie: 'Jigs-med 'Od-zer 'Phrin-las) (born 1952) has been the Prime Minister of Bhutan since April 2008. "Lyonchen" is a title, meaning "prime minister".
Thinley was born in Bumthang and joined the civil service in 1974 upon receiving a graduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University. 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.
Prior to the beginning of democracy, he was Prime Minister twice, from July 20, 1998, to July 9, 1999, and from August 30, 2003, to August 20, 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 June 2, 1999, Thinley was awarded the Druk Thuksey and Coronation medals. On December 17, 2008, Thinley was awarded the Druk Wangyal medal - one of the highest medals of honor - for excellence in carrying out his duties.
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 April 9.
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.
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.
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