Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy in 2008. The King is head of the state and Prime Minister the head of the government. There are ten ministries. The Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) oversees the overall planning, budgeting and implementation of development works. Several autonomous and constitutional bodies exist. The Judiciary is independent. It is four-tiered: Supreme Court, High Court, District Court and Sub-district Court.
The administrative system in the country is divided into central and local governments. The local governments comprise of Dzongkhag Tshogdu (district council), Gewog Tshogde (block council) and the Thromde Tshogde (municipal council). The elected apolitical leaders (known as gup, mangmi and tshogpa) administer the local governments. They are responsible for planning and implementation of development activities at district and block levels. Though decentralized in terms of administrative functions, the local governments receive budgets from the central government.
The National Assembly or Lower House (Gyelyong Tshogdu) consists of 47 elected representatives the electoral constituencies. The National Assembly enacts, amends, or repeals laws and approves the national budget. The house reviews and approves the Five Year Plans. It deliberates on issues that affect the security, well-being and happiness of the country and its people. The National Assembly meets twice a year. The speaker can, however, convene special sessions if situation demands.
The National Council or Upper House (Gyelyong Tshogde) has 25 members: 20 elected by the people and 5 nominated by the King. They serve the house for five years. The National Council ensures that the government safeguards the national interests and fulfills the people’s aspirations. The Council reviews public polices and issues, bills and other legislations and scrutiny the state functions. It looks into the matters related to the country’s security and sovereignty. The National Council meets twice a year. The Chairperson, who is elected from among 25 members, can call for a special session if need arise.