No bloodshed. No angry protests. No political uprisings. No bringing down the bourgeoisie. Well, isn’t it amazing? That’s how we got democracy, a gift from the crown.

May sound funny, and a little bit crazy, but the Bhutanese tribe as unique as they are, did not actually want democracy. They were deeply saddened when the fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, said Monarchy would give way to parliamentary democracy, a form of government new to many Bhutanese citizens. Yet, the King’s decision would not change.

However, before he abdicated the throne in favor of his son, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, all the foundations were laid down. A written Constitution was drafted.

In March 2008, for the first time in the history of Bhutan, citizens across the country went to the polls to vote a political party to the government. Interestingly again, the people voted Druk Phuensum Tshogpa as the majority government giving People’s Democratic Party, the opposition, just two seats out of 47 in the National Assembly.

Bhutan’s democracy is a work-in-progress.  Having established institutional frameworks – an independent Election Commission, Autonomous Anti-Corruption Commission, The Attorney general’s office, and others – a consistent effort is at creating a democratic culture, thinking and way of life.

Literacy on democratic systems and values are improving. There are much to learn and explore, and rural people who did not understand democracy until recently is today at least have a basic idea, to start with. In doing so, citizens are empowered!


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