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Society

State structure

Bhutan Parliament Building Bhutan Parliament BuildingPhoto: Bernard Gagnon CC 4.0 International no changhes made

The king (Druk Gyalpo) of Bhutan is also the (hereditary) head of state, and has ruled the constitutional monarchy since July 18, 2008, before that Bhutan was an absolute monarchy. The king is the symbol of the unity between state and people of Bhutan. The king is furthermore the protector of all religions in Bhutan, appointed senior officials and is commander of the Bhutanese Armed Forces. The king can only be succeeded by a child from a valid marriage. According to the constitution, the king is obliged to resign at the age of 65 and is then succeeded by the crown prince or crown princess, provided he is at least 21 years old. If the successor is not yet 21 years old, a regent observes.

The government building in the capital, Thimphu, is home to the 25 members of the upper house, the 'Gyelyong Tshogd' and the 47 members of the lower house or National Assembly (Tshogdu). The upper house has apolitical, non-partisan members, five of whom are elected by the king. The remaining twenty upper house members are elected through each of the 20 Bhutanese districts or 'dzongkhags'. The 47 members of the lower house, who do belong to a political party, are elected from 47 electoral districts. Both the members of the lower house and the upper house are elected for a period of five years. The constitution states that the national assembly may consist of a maximum of 55 people.

The party with the majority in parliament forms the government, the rest of the parties are in the opposition. The Prime Minister of Bhutan is always the leader of the ruling party in the lower house. The king, in consultation with the prime minister, nominates the candidates for a squad of ministers or 'Lhengye Zhungtshog', who are chosen from among the members of the lower house. After approval by parliament, the minsters can run their country for five years. In theory, a two-thirds majority of parliament can depose the king.

Constituencies overview

constituencydistrictconstituencydistrictconstituencydistrict
Chhoekhor TangBumthangLamgong WangchangParoNorth ThimphuThimphu
Chhumig UraBumthangKhar YurungPema GatshelSouth ThimphuThimphu
Bongo ChapchhaChhukhaNanong ShumarPema GatshelBartsham ShongphuTrashigang
PhuentshoglingChhukhaNganglamPema GatshelKanglung Samkhar UdzorongTrashigang
Drukjeygang TsezaDaganaKabisa TalogPunakhaRadhi SagtengTrashigang
Lhamoi Dzingkha TashidingDaganaLingmukha ToedwangPunakhaThrimshingTrashigang
Khamaed LunanaGasaDewathang GomdarSamdrup JongkharWamrongTrashigang
Khatoed LayaGasaJomotshangkha MartshalaSamdrup JongkharDraagteng LangthilTrongsa
Bji Kar Tshog UesuHaaDophuchen TadingSamtseNubi TangsibjiTrongsa
SombaykhaHaaPhuentshogpelri SamtseSamtseKilkhorthang MendrelgangTsirang
Gangzur MinjeyLhuentseTashichhoelingSamtseSergithang Tsirang ToedTsirang
Maenbi TsaenkharLhuentseUgyentse YoeseltseSamtseAthang ThedtshoWangdue Phodrang
Dramedtse NgatshangMonggarGelegphuSarpangNyishog SaephuWangdue Phodrang
Kengkhar WeringlaMonggarShompangkhaSarpangBardo TrongZhemgang
MonggarMonggarBoomdeling JamkharTashi YangtsePanbangZhemgang
Dokar SharpaParoKhamdang RamjarTashi Yangtse

The twenty districts or 'dzongkhag' further consist of 205 'gewogs', a number of towns and cities, and 'thromdes', the third administrative layer in Bhutan. The districts are governed by a body called 'Dzongkhak Tshokdu'. The current political situation is described in the chapter history.

Sources

BBC - Country Profiles

Brown, Lindsay / Bhutan
Lonely Planet

CIA - World Factbook

Dorje, Gyurme / Bhutan Handbook
Footprint

Elmar Landeninformatie

Jordans, Bart / Bhutan : a trekker's guide
Cicerone

Pommaret, Fran├žoise / Bhutan : Himalayan mountain kingdom
Odyssey

Te gast in Bhutan
Informatie Verre Reizen

Last updated April 2022
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