We, the people of Bhutan

Bhutan prepares to become a constitutional monarchy

We, the people of Bhutan:

Blessed with the luminous benedictions of the Triple Gem, the protection of our guardian deities, the wisdom of our leaders, the everlasting fortunes of the Pelden Drukpa and the command of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuk;

Solemnly pledging ourselves to strengthen the sovereignty of Bhutan, to secure the blessings of Liberty, to ensure Justice and Tranquillity and to enhance the unity, happiness and well-being of the people for all time;

Do hereby ordain and adopt this Constitution for the Kingdom of Bhutan…[constitution.bt]

A draft is ready. Bhutan’s citizens will be able to view and conduct discussions on the ‘short and sweet‘ constitution until the end of the year, when it will be up for a referendum.

While King Wangchuk is not about to become a relic any time soon, Bhutan’s movement towards becoming a constitutional monarchy is impressive, not least because there is no real pressure on the King to change. Tiny as it may be, in a subcontinent where democratic traditions are eroding rather alarmingly, Bhutan’s progress towards constitutional rule is a very welcome development.

Drawing a parallel with Nepal is inevitable — because of the warning it holds out for both countries. The moral of the story is that once a constitution come into effect, bad things will happen if the King insists on reliving the old days.

Related Link: A report in the Kuensel, Bhutan’s official newspaper

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