On the noble initiative of His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan instituted a democratic form of government in 2008 following a century of peaceful era of monarchy Government. Further, advancement into the country’s transition to democracy saw the Fourth King relinquish the responsibility as a head of government to an elected Council of Ministers in 1998. This noble gesture on the part of an enlightened monarchical leadership was followed by the abdication of the throne by the Fourth King on 14th December, 2006 and handing over of responsibility to the Fifth King, who was formally crowned on 6th November, 2008.
With the first democratic election in 2008, democracy in Bhutan is barely seven years old. There are currently five Registered Political Parties which includes:
- People’s Democratic Party (PDP) formally established on 1st September, 2007 – Ruling Party (2013- 2018) & Opposition Party (2008-2013);
- Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) formally established on 2nd October, 2007 – the Ruling government from 2008-2013& now the Opposition Party (2013-2018);
- Bhutan Kuenyam Party (BKP) – formally established on 3rd of January, 2013;
- Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) – formally established on 7th of January 2013; and
- Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) – formally established on 20th of January, 2013.
Following a joint study trip to Denmark supported by DIPD (Danish Institute of Parties& Democracy) in June 2014, all Five Political Parties unanimously felt the need for support in the development of a democratic culture in the country besides institutional strengthening of the Political Parties. Realizing the recent challenges with democracy, the Five Registered Political Parties have united for common vision of promoting vibrant democracy in Bhutan by jointly establishing a Multi-Party Association called “Bhutan Democracy Dialogue” (BDD), endorsed by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB). BDD is an essence born out of the enthusiasm of the leadership of all Five Parties to learn and work together towards ensuring success of democracy. It is a common platform that is owned equally by all the Political Parties wherein Political Parties engage in dialogue, cooperation and partnership for facilitating, nurturing and strengthening democracy in Bhutan.