The third election in Bhutan's history was
held in the fall of 2018 and led to a change of
government, albeit between two similar royalty parties.
The center-left Solidarity, Justice, Freedom (DNT) then
won big over the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).
During the PDP's five-year rule between 2013 and
2018, the Bhutanese experienced continued rapid economic
development. Nevertheless, the rural dissatisfaction in
the countryside fueled rising youth unemployment,
growing social and economic gaps in the community, and
the large move in to the cities.
Country facts and history of Bhutan, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
In the elections to the upper house, the National
Council, held in April 2018, 127 people were candidates
for the 20 electable seats (see Political system). Five
sitting members were re-elected. Of six female
candidates, two were elected.
In the first round of elections to the National
Assembly in September 2018, DNT received 32 percent of
the vote. DNT, which is sometimes also described as
populist, had been formed prior to the 2013 election but
at that time failed to get into the legislative
assembly. Bhutan's Peace and Prosperity Party (DPT),
which won the country's first election in 2008, received
31 percent of the vote. The ruling PDP gained 27 percent
and was knocked out unexpectedly.
DNT and DPT had quite the same election manifesto. A
key difference, however, was that DPT wanted to
accelerate the important expansion of hydropower with
financial support from abroad, while DNT wanted to move
more slowly with the country's high foreign debt.
Instead, DNT wanted to reduce Bhutan's dependence on
hydropower and electricity exports by developing
alternative energy sources.
Other important election issues were how to solve
problems like corruption, rural poverty, high youth
unemployment and gang crime.
In the second round of elections in October, DNT won
a clear victory with 30 of the 47 seats. The party
leader and surgeon Lotay Tshering was named prime
minister for a new government with ten DNT ministers.
Among them was a woman, Dechen Wangmo, who became
Minister of Health. Among the 47 MEPs were eleven women.
In June 2019, the National Assembly voted by a large
majority to decriminalize homosexuality (see Social
FACTS - POLITICS
Druk-Yul / Bhutan
monarchy, unitary state
Head of State
King HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (2006–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Lotay Tshering (2018–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
Solidarity, Justice, Freedom (DNT) 30, Bhutan Peace
and Prosperity Party (DPT) 17 (2018)
Main parties with mandates in the second most
People's Democratic Party (PDP) 32, Bhutan Peace and
Prosperity Party (DPT) 15 (2013)
66% in the first round of the 2018 parliamentary
elections, 71% in the second round of the 2018
parliamentary elections 2023