Growth of Democracy

Examine the events and factors that helped Bhutan become a democracy. (200 Words)

Bhutan is a country who is very small in geographical area compared to India but this small nation has taught many things to the world in a small time especially to measure Gross National Happiness instead of GDP.
In 2008 Bhutan became a democratic country due to the vision of their fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Wangchuck dynasty who became king at the age of 17. He first worked upon foundations of peaceful economic development and political stability with full support from India and preserved its geographical isolation, he applied his mind seriously to the future course of his kingdom. Until the 1980s, Bhutan had sought to zealously preserve its geographical isolation.
King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck took the first steps towards democratization by setting up a 130- member National Assembly in 1953. His son and successor Jigme Singye Wangchuck further loosened the monarchy’s grip on absolute power in 1998 when he took steps to rule Bhutan in conjunction with the National Assembly as well as the Council of Cabinet Ministers. He followed that up by setting in motion the drafting of a constitution in 2001.He has a great vision and in contemporary world he knew that someday monarchy will be challenged so he himself promoted for the democracy. He transferred most of his powers to a nominated Council of Ministers, thereby volitionally diluting the concentration of power in the throne. Then, in 1999, he allowed both television and Internet to make their entry into Bhutan.
In 2005 he passed the monarchy to his eldest son and then issued a royal command that work on a new Constitution must begin immediately with the express purpose of converting Bhutan into a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy. He remains above the democratic fray, but is very much bound by the Constitution. Although the process is cumbersome, the king can actually be impeached under the Constitution by Parliament.
Moreover, the Constitution also mandates that a monarch must compulsorily retire at the age of 65. Democracy, albeit with a strong Bhutanese flavour, has come to stay in the Forbidden Kingdom, and India, as the world’s largest democracy, can only welcome it.



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