Elections are happening in Bhutan! The Himalayan Kingdom has now begun to vote as of Tuesday, for the lower house National council, for only the second time marking Bhutan’s progression from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary democracy beginning in 2008. Following the 2008 parliamentary election, Bhutan is one of the world’s youngest democracies, demonstrating the switch to the economic system of Gross National Happiness.
Gross National Happiness was inspired through the fourth monarch, and proposes the need for Bhutan government to advance achievements of happiness through a government policy that exercises both a holistic approach towards governance and an effective measure to achieve economic prosperity (Source: International Business Times). This balanced approach to both economic and spiritual prosperity was recently highlighted by the UN general assembly on March 20th, celebrated as the International Day of Happiness.
In the following weeks, the nation will decide which of the five parties will best embody this concept and represent the next government as members of the second ever Bhutanese National Assembly. With elections in 2008 giving Bhutanese people two options to cast their vote for, this election will see five parties in the campaign race. The parties include the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa Party (DPT) (currently in power), the People’s Democratic Party, the Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party, and the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa. Following this vote, Bhutan will also vote for the National Assembly, another body of the Parliament of Bhutan, starting in June.
For more information on this special event, feel free to read up on our past blog post, Bhutan begins to prepare to head for the polls, and some great news articles from International Business Times and Associated Free Press. For beautiful pictures of Bhutan and the Elections, visit the Daily Maverick!