Bhutan lies in the Himalayas bordered by the two giants, with China in the north and India in the south. Bhutan is most famously compared to Switzerland, in terms of size as well as topography. Today Bhutan stands with a total area of 38,394 square km, and a total approximate population of 768,577. The Monarchy and the Drukpa Kagyupa sects are the two main essences to the preservation of a distinct and unique culture. Since the emergence of the hereditary monarchy in 1907, our kings have followed a very smooth and well-calculated measure to make modernization as blissful as possible. In 1974, after the coronation of the 4th king, tourism was opened in Bhutan for the first time. Today after more than four decades, Bhutan stands as the most exclusive, sought-after tourist destinations!
The Constitution confirms the institution of monarchy. The King is the Head of State and the symbol of unity of the Kingdom and the people of Bhutan. Most importantly, there are Constitutional provisions for involuntary abdication in the event the King violates the Constitution.
The Constitution provides the legal framework for a democratic political system that is best suited for Bhutan and establishes a system of governance intended to safeguard the security and sovereignty of the nation, as well as to ensure the well-being of the Bhutanese people for all times to come.
The first Article, the Doctrine of Sovereignty, specifies that the Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bhutan belongs to the people.
The political system is in line with the grand vision of the 4th king who felt that there should be a multi-party system at the primary level, and thereafter, the two parties getting the maximum votes will contest the general elections to the National Assembly. This allows for the presence of a stable government in Parliament, chosen of the most preferred from a multi-party system at the primary level. The tyranny of two-party system is thus avoided.
The selection of the constitutional heads will be done by the Prime Minister, Speaker, the Opposition leader, and the Chief Justice.
There is a provision for an interim government, whereby before every election the interim will have no power to decide on policies but will be there for day-to-day running.
The Visionary Monarchs of Bhutan
King Ugyen Wangchuk
King Ugyen Wangchuck, born in 1862 in Wangdicholing Palace in Bumthang. When he became the first King in 1907, it put an end to the Desi system (Dual system) of Governance and marked the dawn of a new era peace and stability.
King Jigme Wangchuk
King Jigme Wangchuck born in 1905, ascended to the Golden throne in 1926. In 1940, he signed the Indo-Bhutan Treaty, which today acts as the foundation of decades of friendship between India and Bhutan. Jigme Wangchuck's reign was marked by stability as well as a much-needed political reorganization within the country.
King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was born in 1928 and became the king in 1952. He is known as the ‘Father of Modern Bhutan’. He abolished serfdom and capital punishment. He established the National Assembly in 1953 and the Five Year Plan in 1961. He also set up the first council of ministers and judiciary in 1968. In 1971, Bhutan also became the member of the UN, where Bhutan was recognized as a sovereign independent nation by the rest of the world
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was born in 1955 and became the youngest king in the world at the age of 19, in 1974. A few years into his reign he introduced Gross National Happiness. This philosophy was conceived based on the fundamental belief that the purpose of development must create conditions that will allow the citizens to pursue happiness, where happiness is viewed as the greatest human wealth. Today, believe it or not, Bhutan is the only country that has a department for happiness. In 1974, the king introduced an unusual tourism policy of "high-value, low-volume” to secure the unique culture and tradition. His majesty was instrumental in the democratization of Bhutan– continuing the steps that his father had begun. He established and strengthened ties with the neighboring countries, and in many ways put Bhutan on the map. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the transition to a constitutional monarchy. He transferred much of his power to the Cabinet Council of Ministers and helped to usher in the more democratic form of government.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck
King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck was born on 21st February 1980. His Majesty the king completed his higher secondary studies in Yangchenphug in Thimphu and later pursued various courses in Phillips Academy, Cushing Academy, and Wheaton College respectively then moved to London to study Foreign Service Programme at the University of Oxford. He was crowned as the Dragon King in November 2008. Today he is known as the ‘People’s King’.
In 2009 National Cadastral Resurvey was launched to eradicate the problem of land issues faced by the public and followed by Rehabilitation Project in 2011. His majesty maintains the tradition of ‘kidu’ that is to take care of his people. He initiated Dessung Training Programme in 2011 which facilitates people to participate in the military-like program to acquire skills for preparing during emergencies. On October 13, 2011, he married Jetsun Pema in Punakha Dzong and bestowed her with the Crown of the Druk Gyaltsuen received from the sacred 'Machhen' Temple’ of the Dzong, thus formally proclaiming her as the ‘Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan’. On February 5, 2016, their son, ‘His Royal Highness the Gyalsey’, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck was born.