Holding its first National Assembly elections in 2008, it was a mark of transition for Bhutan from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan states that it shall be a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy, becoming one of the youngest democracies in the world.
The government has a bicameral system. The upper house is the National Council, known as Gyelyong Tshogde. It consists of twenty-five members; twenty of which are elected by voters, one from each of the twenty Dzongkhags (districts); the remaining five are nominated by the Druk Gyalpo (king of Bhutan). Not a single candidate or member should belong to any political party.
The lower house is the National Assembly, known as the Tshogdu, with a maximum of fifty-five members, elected from each Dzongkhag in proportion to its population but no Dzongkhag shall have less than two or more than seven members.
Elections follow the ‘first past the post’ system in two rounds. In the initial round, the polls are conducted among all parties, without any party being allowed to field candidates. The two parties with the highest number of votes would be able to compete in parliamentary seats in the general election. The winning party forms the government, headed by a prime minister; while the losing party forms the National Assembly.
Independent candidates are not permitted to contest in the National Assembly elections. For the National Council and local governments, on the other hand, only those not affiliated with any political parties are allowed to partake in the elections.
It is required of the candidates for the parliamentary elections to be a university degree holder, not older than 65 years of age and should be married only to a citizen of Bhutan. It is prohibited to elect civil servants.
D’Ambrogio, E. (2014, November 27). Bhutan At a Glance. Retrieved from European Parliament Research Service Blog: http://epthinktank.eu/2014/11/27/bhutan-and-its-political-parties/
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan