The Kingdom of Bhutan has been a Constitutional Monarchy since July 18, 2008, with the King acting as the head of state and a Prime Minister heading the executive Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Prime Minister is nominated by parliamentary democracy and appointed by the King. There are two chambers of parliament; National Council (upper house) and National Assembly (Lower House). Before 2008, Bhutan was an Absolute Monarchy.
Citizens of eighteen years and above register with the electoral commission to vote in the parliamentary and local elections that happen every five years. Being a multi-party and a bicameral state, citizens elect the Lower House while the King and the Dzongkhags appoint the twenty members of the National Council. The electoral commission strictly regulates the registration, nominations, and campaign activities of parties and candidates. Elections are by secret ballot although there is no exit polling. The position of the King is hereditary: however, a King must retire upon reaching 65 years and can also lose the throne through a parliamentary vote of a two-thirds majority.
The national assembly building of Bhutan is the Gyelyong Tshokhang located off Dechhen Lam road in the capital city, Thimphu. The official residence of the King is Dechencholing Palace in Thimphu located 2.5 miles north of the Tashichho Dzong and 4.3 miles north of the Central Business District of the city. Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck designed and built this house in 1953 that reflects the Bhutanese architecture. The current king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, lives in Wangdichholing Palace constructed in 1857 on the site where the battle camp of the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel (father to the first king of Bhutan). This palace was the first in Bhutan and also Namgyel’s birthplace.
Bhutan has a total of five political parties. In no particular order, they are the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, the Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, and the People's Democratic Party.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018