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Politics of Bhutan

Government Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan

Data code: BT

Government type: monarchy; special treaty relationship with India

Capital: Thimphu

Administrative divisions: 18 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang[?], Chhukha[?], Chirang[?], Daga[?], Geylegphug[?], Ha, Lhuntshi[?], Mongar[?], Paro[?], Pemagatsel[?], Punakha[?], Samchi[?], Samdrup Jongkhar[?], Shemgang[?], Tashigang[?], Thimphu, Tongsa[?], Wangdi Phodrang[?]

Independence: August 8, 1949 (from India)

National holiday: National Day, 17 December (1907) (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king)

Constitution: no written constitution or bill of rights
note: Bhutan uses 1953 Royal decree for the Constitution of the National Assembly; on 7 July 1998, a Royal edict was ratified giving the National Assembly additional powers

Legal system: based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: each family has one vote in village-level elections

Executive branch:
chief of state: King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK (since 24 July 1972)
head of government: Foreign Minister Jigme Yoeser THINLEY (since NA June 1998)
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 nominated by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 give the National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular interests; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held NA (next to be held NA)
election results: NA

Judicial branch: the Supreme Court of Appeal is the monarch; High Court, judges appointed by the monarch

Political parties and leaders: no legal parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community; United Front for Democracy (exiled)

International organization participation:

AsDB, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IMF, Intelsat, IOC, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC[?], UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note - Bhutan has a Permanent Mission to the UN; address: 2 United Nations Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 826-1919; the Bhutanese mission to the UN has consular jurisdiction in the US
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

Reference Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.



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