Until the beginning of 20th century, Bhutan was ruled by dual system of administration known as “chhosi” which was initiated by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1651. Shabdrung created the office of the Druk Desi to look after the temporal administration of the country and the Je Khenpo to manage religious matters.
His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, fourth in the Wangchuck dynasty is head of the state. His Majesty formally ascended the Golden Throne on 2 June 1974 and since then steered the country firmly towards the objectives of economic self-reliance, cultural promotion, regionally balanced development, environment preservation and good governance.
The National Assembly, the Royal Advisory Council, the Judiciary, the Council of Ministers and the Sectoral Ministries are the organizations that play a crucial role in the governance of the Kingdom of Bhutan. At the district, block and village levels there are established mechanisms that ensure people’s participation in the decision making process.
National Assembly; Established in 1953 by His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the main functions of the National Assembly are to enact laws, approve senior appointments in government and advise on all matters of national importance. It normally meets twice a year and consists of 154 members comprising 105 elected representatives of the people, 10 representatives of the clergy and 39 nominated representatives of the government.
Royal Advisory Council; The main functions of this body are to make its advice available to the King and his Council of Ministers on all matters of national importance, the welfare of the people and the national interest of the Kingdom, to develop friendly and harmonious relations between the government and the people and to ensure that the laws and resolutions passed by the National assembly are faithfully implemented by the government and people. Formed in 1965, it consists of nine members, six representing the people, two from clergy and one nominee of the King.
Judiciary: All the laws are codified. Minor offences are judged by the village headmen. Above them, the District Court have both original and appellate jurisdiction. Next higher court is the High Court in Thimphu. The final appeal is made to the King who then delegates the Royal Advisory Council to investigate and ensure that the courts have dispensed justice in keeping with the laws of the country.
Council of Ministers and Central Secretariat; Bhutan took a major step in the direction of a modernized administrative system in 1968 when the National Assembly, at the request of the King, approved the formation of a Council of Ministers. The Ministers are responsible to the Cabinet which is an important decision making body, second only in importance to the National Assembly. The Cabinet is presided over by the King and consists of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and all Royal Advisory Councillors.