Bhutan’s Constitutional Reforms

The Acorn notes efforts by the King of Bhutan to move his realm toward a constitutional monarchy dedicated to Life, Liberty, and Gross National Happiness.

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.

To the King’s further credit, he wants the Constitution to be short and sweet, with only 34 articles. And perhaps the steps toward GNH can be enumerated in Clouds 1-9.

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