With elections taking place at regular intervals, Bhutan seems to be well on its way on the road to democracy.
The local bodies or local government (LG) elections held in September 2016 in Bhutan auger well for democracy in the country. These were the second LG elections and 55.8 percent voters turned out to vote as against 56.23 percent who voted in the first LG elections. With the elections to the local governments, the process of democratization of Bhutan has also come full circle. The Election Commissioner of Bhutan appreciated the people and their willingness to invest in and promote democracy as the elections proceeded forward smoothly with the cooperation of the electorates in 1477 constituencies in the country.
By Muhammad Ali Ehsan He particularly appreciated the election of 11 percent of the women candidates in the LG elections. The LG elections this year are being conducted under the Bhutanese constitution after the first LG elections were held in June 2011. Bhutan, with the conduct of first ever elections to its parliament in 2008 and now the conduct of local government elections, has entered a new phase in its democratic history.
It would be pertinent to recall the short journey of Bhutan on the democratic road. In 2008, it transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy. It has a two-party democratic system with an Upper House that constitutes 25 elected members and a National Assembly with 47 lawmakers. The chief contestants were the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT) led by Jigme Thinley and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Sangay Ngedup. The DPT won the elections by taking 45 out of 47 seats. Jigme Thinley served as Prime Minister from 2008 to 2013. Elections were again held in 2013 and the Peoples Democratic Party came to power in the 2013 elections. It won 32 seats with 54.88% of the vote. PDP leader Tshering Tobgay assumed office of Prime Minister.
Since 2008, Bhutan stands out as a