Bhutan Government and Politics

State and politics

According to, 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.e. 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.

Human Rights

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


1907-26 Ugyen Wangchuk
1926-52 Jigme Wangchuk
1952-72 Jigme Dorji Wangchuk
1972-2006 Jigme Singye Wangchuk
2006- Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk

Bhutan Head of Government

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