Fruits of democracy
Bhutan joined the InterParliamentary Union (IPU) and became its 163rd member. The country’s membership was announced at the opening of the 129th IPU Assembly held in Geneva. The IPU was established in 1889. The union is the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and cooperation among peoples. Bhutan’s application to join the IPU was endorsed by Bhutan’s first parliament as the country joins the IPU for the first time.
First established in 2008, and renewed through elections in July 2013, Bhutan’s National Assembly, the Tshogdu, has 47 directly elected members of which three are women. Speaker Jigme Zangpo, who led the six-member Bhutanese delegation, said it was a great honor for the parliament and the people of Bhutan to have acceded to this important international body of parliaments. “We look forward to being part of the global democratic forum and we are confident that our membership will go a long way in building strong and sustained democratic culture and values in our polity,” said Jigme Zangpo in his address to the IPU Assembly.
Bhutan has transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a multiparty democracy. The country’s journey towards democracy has been unique in the sense that it was actively encouraged by the Bhutanese monarchs. They also lent their full support in bringing about legislative reforms and in drafting the country’s constitution.