State and politics
Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy. The adoption of a
democratic constitution in 2008 transferred a significant
portion of the executive power from the king, drunken
gyalpo, to Parliament and the government. The king is
head of state but must retire at age 65 and hand over the
office to the crown prince or crown princess, provided that
the person concerned has reached the age of 21.
Parliament consists of two chambers, the National
Assembly with a maximum of 55 members (currently 47), all
elected, and the National Council with 25 members, of which
20 elected and five nominated by the King. Both chambers are
elected for five years, but the National Assembly can be
dissolved prematurely on the Prime Minister's recommendation
or following a declaration of confidence in the government.
Buddhism, according to the constitution, constitutes
Bhutan's spiritual heritage, but strict distinction is made
between religion and politics. The king is the protector of
all religions in the country.
The country of Bhutan is divided into twenty districts, dzongkhag, each with a popularly elected political
assembly, led by an unpolitical executive official,
dzongda. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of BT and its meanings of Bhutan.
Bhutan has been a member of the UN since 1971 and the
South Asian cooperation organization SAARC since its
inception in 1985 and is active in the alliance-free
movement. The country has close ties with India, but a new
friendship agreement between the countries in 2007 gave
Bhutan greater independence, i.a. in foreign policy.
The country's legal order has a British character with
elements of local custom. The judiciary has three bodies,
where the members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the
king. The death penalty was abolished for all crimes in
2004. The last known execution took place in 1964.
The constitution of 2008 with the transition from
absolute monarchy to democracy meant an improvement in human
rights, but not in all areas. Religious and ethnic
minorities are still being discriminated against and there
are human trafficking and unexplained disappearances by the
political opposition. Nepalese-speaking Bhutanese are
subject to discrimination and prejudice in working life.
A major problem is forced labor and sexual exploitation.
Bhutanese girls working as maids are particularly vulnerable
and vulnerable to human trafficking for sexual purposes.
Many times they are forced to work on financial debts under
threat of violence. Rural children are often put into forced
labor after being transported to the cities by their
relatives for the purpose of education.
Freedom of speech and press has deteriorated and in one
year Bhutan fell to 104th place 92 out of the 180 countries
reviewed by Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Index
for 2015. Freedom of speech is also restricted in the law
when it is forbidden to address criticism of the king.
Heads of State
||Jigme Dorji Wangchuk
||Jigme Singye Wangchuk
||Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk