Politics and Elections in Bhutan
Bhutan, like countries everywhere, is negotiating disruptive times. As a global pandemic, a war, and the impact of human activity on the ecology take a toll on societies across the globe, Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, is also dealing with the uncertain times that are unsettling lives. But the outlook can be as stimulating as it is disruptive.
The country is undergoing major transformations in all aspects of governance to ride on the dramatic innovations of the 21st century. Against this background, the Autumn, 2023, issue of The Druk Journal comes on the eve of Bhutan’s fourth general election. Three general elections saw three different governments and, in early 2024, Bhutanese voters will elect a government which will serve a country negotiating yet another episode of change.
Besides graduating into a middle-income status Bhutan will take a giant stride from being a wary questioner of GDP-driven values into a special economic zone in a country aspiring for a “first world” standard of living.
The National Council elections in March vindicated the unpredictability of the Bhutanese voting trends and a majority of incumbent candidates were replaced by new faces. Now a record five political parties and an unprecedented number of politicians are building a new tempo in the National Assembly race.
Bhutan’s mainstream media as well as increasingly savvy social media users are playing a more critical role with every election for national governments. Local governments, with rising confidence and a record number of participants, are a growing force in governance.
TDJ will carry in depth articles on political ideology, the interaction among political parties, the electoral process, voter trends, as well as the roles and responsibilities of key elements of a democracy – Constitutional bodies, the media and social media, citizens, the bureaucracy.
With half the population being female, the disproportionate gender representation in parliament and positions of governance is an important topic in political discourse. Bhutanese society is discussing the need for a quota for women parliamentarians and questions like why do women not vote for women?
We ask contributors to be creative and think of innovative approaches we take a deep dive into the evolution of the Bhutanese political system.