This article examines the early years of democratization in the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Once a reclusive country, Bhutan embarked on a gradual path of socioeconomic modernization and opening up to the rest of the world. A most significant step on that path was the decision to democratize. The first national democratic elections were held in 2007-2008. In 2013, the second national elections took place and marked an appropriate moment to assess the progress of democratization in Bhutan. This article not only analyzes the electoral experience but also evaluates what has occurred in other areas of democratization including the rule of law, accountability of government, civil society, and freedom of expression. The article concludes that Bhutan has made good progress in democratization on many fronts but that its trajectory is unique, reflecting the particular context of Bhutan and the overriding concern with stability in political and social life.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Asian Politics and Policy|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2014|