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Bhutan Main Page

 


Politics

 
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
Capital:
name: Thimphu
geographic coordinates: 27 29 N, 89 36 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Gasa, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
Independence:
1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
National holiday:
National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Constitution:
ratified 18 July 2008
Legal system:
based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him; the nearly two-year delay between the former King's abdication and his son's coronation on 6 November 2008 was to ensure an astrologically auspicious coronation date and to give the new king, who had limited experience, deeper administrative expertise under the guidance of this father
head of government: Prime Minister Jigme THINLEY (since 9 April 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the monarch, approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; note - there is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde); members are nominated by the monarch
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elections: the monarchy is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant the National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote; election of a new National Assembly occurred in March 2008; the leader of the majority party nominated as the prime minister
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the non-partisan National Council (25 seats; 20 members elected by each of the 20 electoral districts (dzongkhags) for four-year terms and 5 members nominated by the King); and the National Assembly (47 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: National Council elections last held on 31 December 2007 and 29 January 2008 (next to be held by December 2012); National Assembly elections last held on 24 March 2008 (next to be held by March 2013)
election results: National Council - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - DPT 67%, PDP 33%; seats by party - DPT 45, PDP 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch); note - the draft constitution establishes a Supreme Court that will serve as chief court of appeal
Political parties and leaders:
Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
United Front for Democracy (exiled); Druk National Congress (exiled)
other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community
International organization participation:
ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Daw PENJO; address: 763 First Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
Flag description:
divided diagonally from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange; centered along the dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from the hoist side; the dragon, called the Druk (Thunder Dragon), is the emblem of the nation; its white color stands for purity and the jewels in its claws symbolize wealth; the background colors represent spiritual and secular powers within Bhutan: the orange is associated with Bhuddism, while the yellow denotes the ruling dynasty
National anthem:
name: "Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
lyrics/music: Gyaldun Dasho Thinley DORJI/Aku TONGMI
note: adopted 1953

 

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