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Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan

  Constitution: The 4th Druk Gyalpo felt that Bhutan must move with the times to ensure the nation not only overcame internal and external threats, but continues to prosper in an atmosphere of peace and stability. In accordance with a Royal Command for the need of a written constitution, the first draft of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan was formally submitted to His Majesty the King by the constitution drafting committee in an auspicious ceremony in the Throne Room of Tashichhodzong on December 9, the fifth day of the 11th Bhutanese month. On March 21 2005, at a special session of the lhen-gye zhung-tsho (cabinet), His Majesty reminded the members that the Constitution had been drafted with a single-minded focus that attached the highest importance to creating a democratic political system best suited to Bhutan. The Constitution provides the legal framework for a democratic political system that is best suited for Bhutan and establishs a system of governance intended to safeguard the security and sovereignty of the nation, as well as to ensure the well being of the Bhutanese people for all times to come.

On July 18th 2008, the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan was adopted by the first democratically elected Parliament.

The first Article, the Doctrine of Sovereignty, specifies that the Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bhutan belongs to the people.

The second part of the Constitution specifies that the form of government is Democratic Constitutional Monarchy. This mention of Democratic Constitutional Monarchy is unique to protect the system as being fundamentally democratic.

The political system is in line with the grand vision of the 4th king who felt that there should be a multi-party system at the primary level, and thereafter, the two parties getting the maximum votes will contest the general elections to the National Assembly. This allows for the presence of a stable government in Parliament, chosen of the most preferred from a multi-party system at the primary level. The tyranny of two-party system is thus avoided. This is perhaps unique to the Constitution of Bhutan, in that political party structure is probably not mentioned in any other Constitution. Secondly, taking cognisance of the experiences of other countries where the Supreme Courts of other countries did judicial review by interpretation and implied rights, judicial review is explicitly mentioned in Bhutan’s Constitution.

The selection of the constitutional heads will be done by the Prime Minister, Speaker, the Opposition leader, and the Chief Justice.

There is a provision for an interim government, whereby before every election the interim will have no power to decide on policies, but will be there for day-to-day running.

Another unique feature of our Constitution concerns the Environment, and by law 60 per cent of the country must have forest cover.