Fruits of democ­racy

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

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.

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