Browse the listing below to find government information for Bhutan, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Bhutan at its
Bhutan Country Page.
Type: Evolving from a monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Previously, various laws and Buddhist values guided the relationship between the state and the people, but currently a 39-member Drafting Committee composed of representatives of the people, judiciary, the Monastic Order, and the Royal Government are writing a Constitution which is expected to be presented to the National Assembly for ratification in 2005.
National Day: December 17 (1907)
Branches: Executive--king or Druk Gyalpo (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers, Royal Advisory Council (together they make the Cabinet or Lhengye Zhungtsho).
Advisory--Monastic Order (or Monk Body-Dratshang) Legislative--National Assembly (Tshogdu). Judicial--High Court (Thrimkhang Gogma), District Courts, and local area arbitration. Administrative subdivisions: 20. Political parties: None.
Suffrage: Registered resident with legitimate citizenship, age 21 and above.
Bhutan Government & Political Conditions
Traditionally a decentralized theocracy and, since 1907, a monarchy, Bhutan is evolving into a constitutional monarchy with a representative government. In 2002, the election laws were changed so that each citizen over the age of 21 could vote by secret ballot for a representative to the National Assembly (Tshongdu) when previously, only one vote per family was allowed. The Tshongdu is composed of about 150 members, including some appointed from the Monk Body as well as some senior government representatives. They in turn elect the Council of Ministers. Prior to 2003, the Council had six members and rotated the responsibility as prime minister and head of government between each one for a period of one year, but in 2003, the National Assembly elected four additional ministers and also selected a prime minister to serve for the next 3 years.
The spiritual head of Bhutan, the Je Khempo--the only person besides the king who wears the saffron scarf, an honor denoting his authority over all religious institutions--is nominated by monastic leaders and appointed by the king. The Monk Body is involved in advising the government on many levels.
Bhutan is divided into 20 districts or dzongkhags, each headed by a district officer (dzongda) who must be elected. In addition, each district also is broken into smaller areas known as geog (village), led by a locally elected leader called a gup. There are 201 elected gups. In 2002, the National Assembly created a new structure for local governance at the geog level. Each local area is responsible for creating and implementing its own development plan, in coordination with the district.