Short for BT by Abbreviationfinder, Bhutan has undergone a gradual transition from a monarchy where the king had absolute power to parliamentary democracy. The country was given a written constitution for the first time in 2008 and the first parliamentary elections were held that year. The king, drunken gyalpo, still holds great powers and a strong position as a symbol of national unity.
The throne is inherited, preferably by a son, when the king has reached the age of 65. The king has duties such as upholding customs and traditions, granting citizenship and proposing laws. He is the commander-in-chief and holds a number of important positions as judges, members of the electoral authority, the governor of the central bank and key personnel in the defense.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Bhutan for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
Parliament consists of the king and two chambers whose members are elected for five years. The lower house, the National Assembly, may have up to 55 members elected from the 20 districts in proportion to the population size. Each district, dzongkha, must have at least two and a maximum of seven members of the National Assembly. In the three elections, 2008, 2013 and 2018, 47 members were appointed.
Two rounds of elections are held. The two parties that receive the most votes in the first round participate in a second. The victorious party appoints a prime minister and the king appoints other ministers based on his recommendations. No Prime Minister may sit for more than two terms.
The 25 members of the upper house, the National Council, must not belong to any political party. Five of them are appointed by the king while the rest are elected directly in the districts. All legislative proposals must first be accepted in both chambers and then approved by the king.
In local and regional elections, the candidates must also not belong to any party. According to original plans, the first local and regional elections would also have been held in 2008, but it took time to get the legislation in place. Only in 2011 were elections of representatives of the 20 dzongkha and 205 sub-districts called geog.
Political parties were long banned but allowed to register from 2007. Two were approved for the first parliamentary elections in 2008: Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, DPT) and the People’s Democratic Party (People’s Democratic Party, PDP).
Prior to the 2013 election, three more parties were approved: Solidarity, Justice, Freedom (Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, DNT), Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP). DNT, which won government power in the 2018 election, is sometimes described as center-leftist, sometimes populist. BKP and DCT have not been represented in Parliament, and DCT was dissolved in February 2018.
All four approved parties are loyal to the king and hold on to the “king’s visions”. Abroad, a handful of regime-hostile parties appear, including the Maoist Bhutan Communist Party, the Bhutan National Congress and the Democratic Party. They are based in Nepal or in India and are fighting for the rights of the Nepalese people group lhotshampa (see Population and Languages).