Democracy in Bhutan: An Analysis of Constitutional Change in a Buddhist Monarchy
   ·   17 Mar, 2010   ·   24    ·    Research Paper

Bhutan constitutes a striking example of path-dependency, especially with regard to the reign of the fourth king, who continuously followed his vision of transforming Bhutan’s polity. Because of the numerous particularities that come with this case study, there will be two short excurses that are worth the writing. One will be on the creation of the monarchy, which provides for astonishing similarities with the ideas of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and thus, serves as an interesting link between political realities and political philosophy. The second excurse will be on the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Again, this policy constitutes a unique feature in Bhutanese politics, as it combines cultural and traditional preservation with post-modern values. It appears that it is not GNH that complements democracy in Bhutan, but that democracy is just one part of Gross National Happiness. The last part of section two will be dedicated to the analysis of the present Bhutanese polity as stipulated by the new constitution. In the end, conclusions will be drawn from the preceding analysis to assess if Bhutan can be regarded a unique case in political science



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